The Indian e-commerce industry, excluding travel, is around $550 million and over the last three years, about $350 million have been invested in it. While global players like Amazon and eBay have made baby steps into the market, local biggies like Flipkart have been expanding bigtime (love their television ads). And then there have been several group deal sites that got launched and then either failed to evolve or got acquired.
Online shopping for gifting has been a trend that has managed to hold sway, especially when it comes to festive seasons like Diwali or Rakshabandhan. No wonder, popular classifieds site, Sulekha also goes big on promoting its gifting sub-domain especially to Indians abroad, keen on sending Rakhis or gifts to their folks in India or vice versa.
However, when it comes to personalized or unique gifts, there are very few sites that cater to this niche segment. Most sites bet big on the usual products like electronics, books, clothes, jewelry and chocolates. It took me some time to make this list of five sites in India where you could find some unique gift items.
ExcitingLives: ExcitingLives, as a site, could do better when it comes to UI. But when it comes to the collection of products on offer, the word that defines it, is definitely varied. You can sort based on who you want the gifts for (me, wife, husband, boss etc) or on the basis of sub-categories like Bar, Experiences, Fashion, Naughty, Personalized etc. Interesting finds include a Doomed Skull Shotglass that takes on a frightening look based on the color of your drink and Clown Surprise where a clown and a funny character comes home with a cake. Same day delivery option is also available.
WastedFish: This is a sleek site targeted towards a niche segment. Here, you can find quirky barware and drinking games. Sample these. There’s a Drinking Roulette, where if your shot glass number corresponds to the number played, it’s bottoms up for you. They even have a Beer Can Phone, which is, as the name says, a beer can shaped landline phone. Thumbs up to this site for its quirky product designs.
1469workshop: Love everything Punjabi? This is the site for you? You can buy karas, patiala salwars to jootis and phulkaris here. T-shirts with funny quotes are also available. Tired of coffee mugs? Check out the Chaah mug. You can even buy Punjabi music. Collection is limited and targeted but if Punjabi quotes on T-shirts is your sense of style, this site is worth a visit.
UrbanLadder: This site comes across as one of the best when it comes to UI and navigation. It is simple, elegant and easy to browse through. If unique furniture and home accessories are what you are looking for, this should be on your list. The products look really well-designed and seem to come with great finish. Pictures are of high quality and impressive. Deck chairs, perch foot stools, TV units, folding book shelf etc are all available. Liked the Tranforming Ladder Chair which with a flip-over converts from a chair to a ladder, and the Wheeled storage bins for dumping knick-knacks. The hitch? Delivers currently only to Bangalore, Mumbai and NCR.
DesignDeal: This site has a curated collection of designs from multiple designers and brands, available at discounts. Unique ottomans, contemporary wire and iron furniture, M F Husain’s artwork and eclectic lighting are available. The products are high-priced, with a bent towards home collection. However, discounts are up to 75%. It’s a members only site so registration is required to even browse through the products.
Let me know of your experiences with these sites.