Market Overview

India’s long-term growth is based on a growing and young population that is boosting economic activity and creating a large, urban middle class. A shift toward more modern home furnishings and interior fit-outs is driving steady growth in the demand for wood.

With a declining supply of traditional hardwoods, Indian manufacturers are looking for alternate wood supply sources. India’s consumption of wood products is on the rise, particularly in value-added applications. The rapid opening of a market for softwood products in India presents a unique opportunity to position BC as a reliable supplier of fibre from sustainable sources.

Photo: Hemlock product trails, Bramola | Credit: FII India

Key Stats

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product trials with local manufacturers were completed in 2020/21

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stockists across India are now carrying BC softwood products

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participants engaged in FII India's online webinars in 2020/21

Why India?

  • Positive demographics, long-term economic growth and an expanding middle class
  • Significant increase in demand for wood products
  • Limited domestic wood supply and declining import supply from traditional sources (mainly hardwood)
  • Opportunity to capitalize on the benefits and suitability of softwood for manufacturers

Market Priorities

  • Position BC softwoods to take advantage of India’s growing fibre needs by focusing on applications for joinery, remanufacturing, furniture production and interior finishing
  • Support BC companies with education and market-entry efforts in India
  • Undertake highly impactful promotional and demonstration activities
  • Growing a network of stockists to carry and supply BC wood species in the market

Strategic Approach

Market development efforts in India consist of a partnership between Forestry Innovation Investment, Natural Resources Canada and the Canada Wood Group. Since 2014, FII India has pursued a comprehensive program involving a mix of business development, research and marketing activities. Additionally, the team encourages commercialization by arranging product trials with manufacturers and securing high-profile demonstration projects with strategic partners.

Featured Projects

Staying connected to build capacity

Educational seminars and training workshops are central to FII’s work to inform Indian manufacturers, stockists, architects and other key stakeholders on the merits and applications of B.C. wood species. With this approach, FII India is able to build demand for B.C. forest products in strategic markets across the country. Traditionally, in-person meetings have been the preferred way to build relationships that generate project leads. However, following COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, the team quickly adapted and hosted a series of ten webinars—allowing capacity building and market development efforts to continue, despite challenges posed by the pandemic.

To tap into the market’s growing interest in the use of wood in structural applications, FII India’s first webinar focused on Wood in Structural Use, covering the environmental benefits, cost and time savings, building efficiency and safety benefits associated with wood in construction. Different types of sustainably harvested, Canadian wood products and local demonstration projects were highlighted, with spruce-pine-fir (S-P-F) featured as the ideal species for structural applications due to its great strength-to-weight ratio, dimensional stability and outstanding working properties.

Over 83 percent of Wood in Structural Use attendees indicated they were very likely to recommend Canadian wood for future projects. The success of the webinars will lead FII to continue this type of format in a post-pandemic business environment, further expanding the team’s ability to connect with local stakeholders.

FII product trials lead to orders for Canadian species

Since entering the Indian market, FII has been focusing efforts on increasing interest in BC species within India’s furniture manufacturing sector through the Try Canadian Wood program. This has proven to be an efficient way of showcasing the advantages of using BC wood species for furniture applications and enabling manufacturers to gain direct experience in using Canadian products. Many of these product trials have led to the purchase of BC wood.

 

RECENT 2020/21 ORDERS STEMMING FROM FII PRODUCT TRIALS INCLUDE:

 

SETHIA HANDICRAFTS – A large manufacturer and exporter of solid wood furniture in Rajasthan purchased BC western hemlock and Douglas-fir from local stockists for living room and bedroom furniture

 

LATIYAL HANDICRAFTS – A furniture producer in Rajasthan recently purchased both western hemlock and Douglas-fir for furniture trials. Items made with Douglas-fir were then used to showcase BC wood products to their buyers.

 

JODHANA ARTS & CRAFTS – An export-focused company located in Jodhpur that services major buyers in North America purchased three containers of western hemlock for interior furniture applications following its trial.

 

Successes such as these are an important factor in continuing to expand awareness of BC species across India and have
been instrumental in converting manufacturers to using Canadian wood in this high-potential market.

Demonstration projects strategically position Canadian wood

Demonstration projects inspire builders and architects by showing them how Canadian wood products can help meet the growing interest in building with wood in India’s residential and hospitality sectors.

In 2020/21, FII India strategically advanced its demonstration projects program by targeting the rising trend in structural wood use for farmhouses/country homes, as well as wooden resort homes in hill areas and in coastal areas. With six completed projects and another 13 in progress, efforts over the past year have resulted in a wide variety of showcases in the hospitality and residential construction segments.

By providing professional guidance from initial planning to execution, demonstration project teams are well supported with access to a range of building professionals in wood architecture and structural engineering. Each project team is also able to directly experience the many benefits of building with Canadian wood including its impressive strength-to-weight ratio which
requires less intrusive, lower-cost footings and foundation work.

The demonstration projects also highlighted the benefits of prefabricated construction, including significantly shorter time frames required to complete such projects, which result in critical savings on on-site labour requirements.

Photo: One bedroom studio cottage in Bengaluru. This studio-style cottage, built using wood-frame construction, is strategically positioned in Bengaluru to draw architects, developers and designers.

India’s hospitality sector is a natural fit for B.C. wood’s beauty and durability

BC wood’s natural beauty, warmth and calming, peaceful aesthetic—plus its durability, performance and safety—make it a perfect fit for use in resorts. India’s hospitality industry presents a growing opportunity for BC wood species—this is why building inroads with local architects, designers and manufacturers servicing the sector is one of FII India’s strategic focuses.

To showcase the unique advantages of using BC wood products in hospitality projects, FII India provided technical support on the construction of Sitaram Beach Retreat—a premium Ayurvedic centre located in Kerala, on India’s southwest coast.

Designed by distinguished local architect, N. Mahesh, and built in traditional Kerala carpentry style, Sitaram features Canadian wood in both structural applications and interiors and demonstrates how sustainably sourced Canadian wood species may be used for projects that speak to traditional Indian architecture.

In 2020/21, FII India completed a case study on the project to further showcase how BC wood products may be used within India’s growing hospitality sector.