NEW DELHI: India could become Ikea’s largest market for children’s products, including toys. While in most mature markets, the children’s range accounts for 6-8% of Ikea’s overall business, it could go up to 12% in India, said Kavitha Rao, country commercial manager at
“Around 80% of the households live with children in India,” said Rao. “In other markets, the number is significantly lower.” The Swedish furniture retailer, however, stopped selling toys in the domestic market from January 1 due to the government’s ‘toy quality control’ order which requires all toy manufacturers to comply with the new Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
With the order coming into effect from September, all toys and materials designed or intended for use in play by children below 14 years of age need to be certified by BIS. Later, the compliance deadline was extended to January 2021.
“We are not selling toys because the government is still in the process of issuing the BIS standards. But much before this order came in, we have always been compliant with both the global standards as well as the ISO standards that are prevalent in the country,” said Rao.
Ikea said its products are also compliant with the BIS standards but its suppliers do not have the BIS marking yet. The retailer said several companies, including its suppliers, have applied for the new standards but are yet to hear from the authorities.
“I guess it is taking longer in the Covid context, which is why our request to the government is to give all retailers an extension until the authorities find a way to approve all the applications which have been submitted at this point in time,” Rao added.
Ikea’s comments come ahead of the India Toy Fair 2021, a first-of-its-kind government initiative, which is set to be launched on Saturday.