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Propelled by burgeoning mobile phone exports from India, especially from Apple, electronics exports have moved up one position to become India’s fifth largest export, at $29.1 billion, displacing drugs and pharmaceuticals at $27.8 billion in the financial year ended March 31, 2024.

What’s more, electronics exports have inched close to the fourth largest exporter — organic and inorganic chemicals — which contracted 3 per cent in FY24 to $29.4 billion. According to the Department of Commerce, electronics exports grew 24 per cent, an increase of over $23.6 billion in FY23.

It is also the fastest growing export category among the top 10. Mobile phone exports, which grew nearly 38 per cent over last year to reach $15.5 billion, contributed 53 per ce­nt to the total electronics exports, According to the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association.

By comparison, in the last financial year, mobile phone exports stood at $11.1 billion, contributing 47 per cent to the total electronics exports. The single largest factor driving this increase was Apple’s iPhone exports, which doubled from $5 billion in FY23 to over $10 billion in FY24.

This came at a time when overall merchandise exports from India were down in FY24 over the previous financial year by approximately 3 per cent. Of the $5.5 billion increase in electronics exports this year, 90 per cent came from the increase in iPhone exports to the tune of $5 billion. Apple’s iPhone exports alone now constitute 35 per cent India’s entire electronics export goods basket.

The smartphone production-linked incentive scheme pushed up electronics exports from the seventh largest export between FY19 and FY23 to number six last year, to the fifth spot in FY24. Electronics has also substantially narrowed its gap with the third and fourth largest exports from India.

In FY23, electronics exports trailed gems and jewellery exports by $14.4 billion. This year, the gap has reduced to $2.8 billion. In the case of the fourth ranked organic and inorganic chemicals exports, electronics have narrowed the gap from $6.7 billion in FY23 to merely $300 million within a year.

Mobile companies say that, going by the current trends (and unless gems and jeweler and organic and inorganic chemicals perform exceedingly well), electronics exports could become India’s third biggest export by 2026