If you live in the United States and want to send gifts to India or even planning a trip back to India after a long time, you probably are overwhelmed with what gifts to buy for your family and friends. It can be a daunting task with so many options available that are worth buying in the USA.
Love shopping and good deals?
The good news is that you can buy good quality electronic products and much more in the U.S. at a cheaper price than the one sold at a higher price in India. This is one big reason why people are more interested in buying things from the U.S.
We will get down to the nitty-gritty of what are some of the best gifts to buy from the U.S., how you can send gifts from the USA to India, and more in this blog.
But first, why do we buy gifts?
We all know that it is customary to buy unique gifts or souvenirs for your family back home when you travel to other countries or places that are far off from your home-town. There is an expectation that you will bring gift items for them even if they don’t ask for it.
It is this undisclosed longing that makes giving gifts to our family members, friends, and loved ones more joyous. If you are unsure of what to buy, you can directly ask what they would like instead of taking the risk of getting something that they already have or they don’t need. It adds more value to the gift if it is what they want.
Whatever the case may be, a gift is a symbol of love and appreciation to the ones we are giving that strengthens our relationships. In fact, giving and receiving gifts is a universal human trait continuing from millennia. It is perhaps hardwired into our DNA because we are a social animal.
Now, if you haven’t been to India for a long time, you might not be aware that India has changed a lot. People are more exposed to what’s happening globally. There could be substantial social and cultural changes that you don’t know of.
Moreover, with the e-commerce boom, thanks to the increased usage of the internet and smartphones, many more Indians now can buy lots of things online. It thus seems important that when you buy gifts from the U.S., it meets the expectation of the people back home in India.
Before we start listing the gift ideas, here are some tips to make the process not-too-overwhelming.
Make a list of things to buy
You may begin with writing down things you want to buy and then move on to things you intend to buy for your loved ones. It is better if you count the number of people for whom you need to buy and then jotting down gift ideas for each one of them. Write as many as you can.
You don’t need to buy everything for now. You can go further and classify them by gender, age, personality, and interests and write the gift options against their names. It is exactly like creating a wish list.
To make it easier, you might want to call them up and ask what they need. Some may not be able to decide what they want or hesitate to tell you what they really want. But you have your list to go back to make the decision.
At the end of this exercise, you will know what to buy and how many to buy.
Have a separate list for gifts and non-gifts items if you need to
This may come in handy if you have other things to buy apart from gifts.
Have a budget
This is crucial. How much are you willing to spend on buying gifts? Having a budget will prevent you from overspending and also making sure that you have got enough money to cover for everyone.
It also helps to know where to buy. Some items might be on sales in some stores while the prices can be fixed in others. It would be wise to do some research and pick the stores that suit your shopping goals.
Convert the U.S. dollars to Indian rupees
This will help you to decide whether it is worth buying in the U.S. than in India. If the price is almost the same in India then buying it will only take up space in your luggage.
Another convenient way to show your love to your family members overseas is to send a monetary gift. This can be even more helpful if they happen to need the money more than the gift. Keep in mind that Tax on gifts in India is within the purview of the Income Tax Act.
You can send money online hassle-free from the U.S. to India through the various money transfer services in the market whenever it is convenient for you.
At CompareRemit, you can compare the different money transfer companies that are offering different speeds of transfer, transfer fees, and exchange rates. This way it is easy for you to choose the best option for your money transfer needs. You can also avail of exclusive offers and deals by signing up today. Compare and save money on every transfer.
Now, let’s come to the list of things to buy from the USA for your loved ones in India.
Apple is one of the most well-known brands in the world because of the quality of its products and its perceived value. Apple products like iPhones and Macbooks will make a great gift for anyone who is an Apple fan or young folks who are tech-savvy. Since Apple products are more expensive in India than in the U.S. (Apple Macbook Pro has a price difference of almost $500), this will make a great purchase.
You should keep the following things in mind when buying Apple products:
Universal Power Plug Adapter
This is a must-have and a great gift for people who are traveling to different parts of the world. The power plug-in in India is different from the ones in the U.S. and maybe in other countries. So it is a handy tool for travelers and it is not expensive either.
This is a no-brainer if you have youngsters in your family circle. Headphones are fashionable and a must-have these days especially with young generations. Just like Apple products, audio headphones by brands such as Beats are favored by young folks because of the superior sound quality, the aesthetics and they see it being used by their favorite artists/singers.
Such brands are not easily available in India and can be very expensive as compared to the price in the U.S. This will make a great gift for your younger cousins or siblings and they will love you for giving it.
Branded Items (Watches, Bags, Apparels, Sunglasses, etc)
Branded watches from Fossil, Daniel Wellington, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors are much cheaper in the U.S.
If, at all available in India, it tends to be pricey. You can get such branded products for a lot cheaper during the sales on Holidays like Christmas, Black Friday, and Thanksgiving. Amazon.com does many sales during such holidays. This is budget-friendly as well.
Watches are loved by everyone. You can give it to your friends, parents, sister/brother, relatives.
Branded clothing is less expensive in the U.S. by 20-50% than in India. If you want to make someone smile why not buy them branded jeans, dresses, shirts that are not sold in India, and if at all available they are usually overpriced. You can also go for accessories like belts, hats, scarves, purse, etc.
Branded bags make a great gift for your mother, girlfriend, sister, aunties. You get the best-branded bags from Micheal Kors, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vuitton at a much cheaper price in the U.S.
Sunglasses are amongst the well-liked gifts. Only go for branded sunglasses because the price difference of about $50 is meant for well known high-end brands. The duplicate versions are available at a very low price in India.
Winter jackets make a great gift for the elders in your family. A good quality winter jacket in India is very expensive and of poor quality, if you compare it with the price in the U.S. Get the best quality at the best price for the cold winter at home.
You get a better deal during the winter sales for Black Friday, Thanksgiving, or Cyber Monday. You can check out Macy’s Marshalls, Ross Stores, Burlington, and even Costco.
Perfumes are a must on the list. They make a great gift for both men and women. Also, the price difference is astonishing.
More high-end brands are available in the U.S. at half the price than what is sold in India. Perfumes from popular brands are rarely available and limited to only big cities in India.
Buying cosmetics in the U.S. will save you money to a great extent. It also helps that there are a plethora of popular cosmetics brands in the U.S. Get products from brands like Marc Jacobs, L.A. Girl, Sephora, Dior, Estee Lauder, Anastasia Beverly Hills, etc. Make your friends or sisters in India appreciate you more with high-end cosmetic products from the U.S. while also saving you money.
The U.S. has some of the most affordable and good quality wellness products. High-quality superfoods like chia seeds, quinoa, and a variety of nuts and berries are very common in the U.S. Such foods can be a rare thing in India and very pricey if available in high-end supermarkets. There are many varieties of superfoods to buy in the U.S.
Other items you can go for are multivitamins and supplements. Americans consume a lot of these daily for better hair growth, for good skin, and certainly for health. So they are in high demand which makes it readily available at a much affordable price.
In India, it will be hard to get hold of such products and can be pricey. It can be a good idea to get them in the U.S. for your friends and family.
In the U.S. you will get top quality automatic diabetes testing kits that are not available in India. This is a perfect gift for family members who are Diabetes patients. The automatic device can monitor the blood sugar levels easily at the comfort of their home. This gift is of great value to those who really need it.
You have a lot of good options in this category. In terms of quality and prices, buying in the U.S. is much better than in India. Cooking appliances, blenders, baking items, dinner sets, ceramic vessels, and many more can be purchased at a much cheaper price from big stores like Ikea, Macy’s, etc. You can buy from the best brands in the U.S. since it is the standard.
Google WiFi System
Google WiFi system will eliminate dead zones and buffering providing you full WiFi coverage throughout your home. This device is a must if you rely on electronic devices in your home or anyone in your family circle that needs good Wifi connectivity. You can get it under $100 a pack at Amazon.com which is much cheaper than the price in India.
Get Play Station at the best price for your young family and friends. They are not expensive in the U.S. and it is one of the best ways to show your love to your younger ones who are into video games.
Toys for kids
The collection of kids’ toys is massive in the U.S., many of which are not available in India. You can get interesting, educational, and fun toys for kids of all ages.
Drones with 4K Camera
Drones are one of the coolest gadgets that you can buy as a gift for your loved ones. A drone with a camera is the best gift for people who love taking videos of picturesque landscapes.
The high-quality drones sold in India can be super expensive and bulky. You can get it online in the U.S. at a much lower price as there are several options to choose from if you want to give it to your friends and family. Keep in mind that while flying a drone in India is legal, do follow the rules and regulations of the aviation authorities.
This is one useful electronic gadget that you can buy. Although it is not cheap and still not available in India, it is worth the money. It is a great gift for any household as it will help in maintaining cleanliness without any manual labor. It works on wooden floors, solid floors, which are common in India. Some of the smart robots like the Roomba are very popular.
This would make a great gift for outdoorsy friends and family. People these days are more into camping to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a few days. U.S. brands like Lowe Alpine or the North Face offer the best tents and sleeping bags because the U.S. has some of the best Campgrounds and parks.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. You have several options apart from the gift ideas mentioned in this list. If you can purchase during the holiday sales like Black Friday sale or Thanksgiving, you can get the best deals on products from top brands. But it is best to stick to your budget and buy must-have things.
Shipping items from the U.S. to India
In case you are wondering how to ship gift items such as electronics or gadgets from the U.S. to India, some companies specialize in helping customers shop in the U.S. and ship to India.
One option that you may already know of is Amazon Global. You can buy things on Amazon and get it delivered to the local address in India with no worries about third party shipping. Keep in mind that only certain items can be eligible for this service. Other shipping options that you can try out are ShopUSA, iBhejo, and many others.
One frequently asked question on importing electronics to India is the cost of customs duties. Earlier you needed to pay the flat 41.492% import duty if you exceed the value of Rs 2000 ($27). But now, there are no charges on electronic items under Rs 50,000 ($675) for personal use. But you still have to pay the standard custom duty.
It is possible to import gadgets from the U.S. worth Rs 50,000 at a much cheaper price. The safest and cheapest option is to ask a friend or relative who is leaving for India.
With the holiday season not far away, gifts exchange is on the cards. What better time than now to start planning for your shopping.