Madagascar is a lovely destination for shopping. The arts and crafts are varied, unusual and often of high quality, making for wonderful souvenirs and gifts. If possible, try to buy directly from the producer, or from a local association, to ensure your money goes where it's most needed.
Madagascar has an important textile manufacturing sector and as such, you'll find high-quality t-shirts with funky baobab and lemur designs everywhere. Popular brands include Carambole and Maki.
More traditional is the wild silk made from endemic silkworms and woven by women in rural areas. They make scarves and shawls mostly but you may also find soft furnishings.
Weaving traditions are also apparent in the wide selection of baskets, mats, bags and other home and fashion accessories made from raffia, wicker, palm and other local fibers. Prices are always very reasonable.
Gourmets will have a field day here, with spices galore, fine chocolates and bottles of flavored rum guaranteed to delight.
You'll find numerous other crafts on the island, including woodcarvings and toys made from recycled cans and/or plastic bottles.
The purchase of some souvenirs should be weighed carefully. Many gemstones and gold, for instance, are illegally mined, in dreadful health and safety conditions, often by children, and with no environmental safeguards, so try to buy from a well-established business that can guarantee the provenance of the minerals and obtain an export certificate.
The same note of caution goes for souvenirs made of precious hardwoods such as palisander, rosewood and ebony. All three species are seriously threatened by large-scale deforestation and illegal logging and are listed by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). It's not the few sculptures and carvings in souvenir shops that are driving deforestation (and these activities do support livelihoods), but they are part of the big picture. Whatever you choose to do, you will need an export certificate.