The COVID-19-led lockdown has forced several people to diversify into areas of work that weren’t their core focus, according to an official of Usha International.This is one of the reasons for an increase in the sales of home sewing machines. People have taken up sewing either as an hobby or to make a living, he said.“The global pandemic affected consumer behavior as they juggled household chores, along with office work and other commitments. Yet, they found time to pick up sewing as a creative outlet to deal with the stress, by making masks, PPE kits to home decor,” Parveen Kumarr Sahni, senior VP, Sewing Machines Business, Usha International told The Hindu.According to him, the sewing machine industry was catered to both by organised and unorganised sectors. “But, during the pandemic, we noticed a shift towards the organised sector as customers were looking at the overall value offering and the long-term benefits. Increasingly, the DIY culture drove the sales of sewing machines in addition to lockdown-driven need for home tailoring and alterations which has surged,” he said.While pointing out that the total size of sewing machine industry was pegged at 45 lakh units, he said straight stitch and domestic industrial sewing machines accounted for 40-42 lakh units and automatic zigzag machines for the balance. Usha International has market share of about 25% and 65% respectively in these categories.“The demand for sewing machines has grown exponentially and is currently exceeding supply. The black sewing machines used by your grandma and by tailors are in demand and it accounts for nearly 80% of total sales. We, still continue to make them,” he said.Mr. Sahni expects the sewing machine market to double in the next five years. “The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown did impact us, as it did everyone else. But, things are looking up with the demand for many new products such as masks and PPE kits. We also saw a surge in the DIY and hobby categories that led to a huge demand for household sewing machines,” he said.Asserting that maximum sales came from south followed by west and north, he said that they were constantly focusing on developing new markets and strengthening the existing ones with innovative products to fulfil the changing needs and demands of consumers by using advanced technologies.
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