The Retail Giant’s New Strategy: Walmart Increases Imports from India

Walmart’s recent shift to increase imports from India while reducing reliance on China is a significant move in the global retail and supply chain landscape. This decision has been influenced by various factors, including rising costs in China and geopolitical tensions. Here’s an in-depth analysis based on information from multiple sources:

Key Data and Numbers

  • Percentage of Shipments: Walmart’s imports from China decreased from 80% in 2018 to 60% between January and August 2023. Conversely, imports from India, which were just 2% in 2018, rose to 25% during the same period in 2023​​​​.
  • Financial Commitments: Walmart plans to import $10 billion of goods from India annually by 2027, a target it’s on track to meet. Currently, about $3 billion worth of goods are imported from India each year​​​​.
  • Employment: Walmart employs over 100,000 people, including temporary workers, in India across various offices and units​​​​.

Driving Factors Behind the Shift

  • Cost and Diversification: The move aims to cut costs and diversify Walmart’s supply chain. Rising costs of importing from China and geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China are key motivators for this shift​​.
  • Labor Costs: China’s rising labor costs have made sourcing from the mainland less competitive. For example, China’s minimum wage ranges from 1,420 to 2,690 yuan per month, whereas wages for similar workers in India range from about 9,000 to 15,000 Indian rupees a month​​​​.
  • Supply Chain Resilience: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerabilities of over-reliance on a few markets. Walmart’s strategy aims to mitigate such risks by diversifying sourcing locations​​​​.
  • India’s Manufacturing Growth: India’s rapidly growing workforce, technological advancement, and its capability for low-cost, large-scale manufacturing have been attractive to Walmart. The country is poised to outperform China in these areas​​​​.

Types of Goods Imported

  • Walmart imports a variety of goods from India, including toys, electronics, bicycles, pharmaceuticals, packaged food, dry grains, and pasta​​​​.

Comparison with Competitors

  • Amazon’s Strategy: Amazon, a key competitor, also plans to increase its merchandise exports from India, targeting $20 billion by 2025​​​​.

Economic Impact

  • India’s Growth Forecast: The Indian economy is expected to expand by 6.5% this fiscal year, compared to China’s expected growth of around 5%​​​​.
  • Supplier Benefits: Indian suppliers, such as Freewill Sports, have benefitted from this shift. Walmart’s strategy has reportedly brought a significant impact in the last 12 to 18 months​​.


Walmart’s strategic pivot to India signifies a major shift in global supply chain dynamics, reflecting broader trends in international trade and economics. This move aligns with Walmart’s long-term goal of cost reduction, supply chain diversification, and tapping into India’s manufacturing potential. It’s a significant development in the retail sector, with potential ripple effects across various industries and economies.



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