COVID-19 has taken the world by storm, with multiple businesses and households affected. Last year in February, everyone was unprepared for a crisis this huge, and hence, the impact of the pandemic was severe for most of the business sectors. Despite the overwhelming challenges these times have presented, the incense industry thrives. 

When initially the lockdowns started, the supply chain for incense sticks was down for a couple of months. The exports had to cease due to the transport restrictions and staff limitations to carry out the logistics required. Still, the sales of incense sticks saw a hike last year. Many businesses operated the incense factories in limited capacities due to government-issued orders to curb the coronavirus spread. Even though the supply chain was affected, the demand remained steady.

With the growing health concerns, people have started to pay extra attention to their health. Burning incense has many health benefits. People engage in activities like yoga to stay physically strong and meditate for spiritual well-being. These activities are performed better with burning incense that can further elevate the benefits of these wellness routines. The devastation of COVID-19 has also affected the mental health of many. Burning incense sticks to reduce anxiety and lower stress levels is one effective way many people choose.

The production of incense sticks was affected in August. Still, as per Arjun Ranga, President of All India Agarbatti Manufacturers Association (AIAMA), the industry will reach up to 7,500-8000 crore by the end of 2021. The Indian incense makers offer a wide range of excellent incense products, beneficial for multiple purposes like prayers, metaphysical healing, yoga, tarot readings, aromatherapy, spiritual cleansing, and much more. The most integral selling point of any incense is the fragrance, and Indians are wizards when it comes to curating unique and delightful aromas. Due to this rich quality and vast diversity offered by Indian incense makers, exports took off when the supply chain recovered.

Additionally, almost all the raw materials utilized for manufacturing incense products are available in the local areas, making production more accessible and cheaper. An increasing number of businesses, mostly MSMEs, are evolving through this unprecedented market situation we are going through. Moreover, about 80% of the total employees in the incense industry are women. The fact women employees act as both an opportunity and inspiration for women to innovate and grow in this industry actively.

Rahul Shah - Business Development Head of HEM Corporation stated, “At HEM, we are very committed to working with our valued customers, suppliers & employees to facilitate the recovery of business during this difficult time while maintaining a safe workplace. We are adhering to stringent protocols as provided by the government in carrying out our business operations.”

Last year has been a tough one, not just for families but for businesses too. Nevertheless, the incense industry shows promising growth and continues to bring exciting incense products to the market. Even in times of global pandemic, incense businesses continue to scale productions and export high-quality incense, following all the safety measures and regulations. With a steady demand and a seamless supply chain, the future can be bright for the incense industry.