Global e-commerce grew by 23% in 2018 and is predicted to do the same in 2019. For small online businesses, staying on top of e-commerce consumer trends can be a strong growth strategy for the new year. Even if people still love last year’s top products, you should update your stock to reflect popular options for the coming year.
Looking at the market trends, we have come up with a list of products expected to be in high demand for the year 2019.
- What makes a product good for e-commerce?
- 8 Hot Products to Sell Online in 2019
- How to stay on top of e-commerce trends
What makes a product good for e-commerce?
Many e-commerce businesses fail because they don’t listen to what their customers want. If you are running a small dropshipping or e-commerce business, you should constantly be watching trends in suppliers’ shops - like Alibaba - to see what online shoppers are excited about. However, not every new product is a fit for a small online shop; some items are hard to store, expensive to ship, or too niche for your main customer base.
Try to choose a set of items that fit these three characteristics:
1. A product can be sold for US$10-40.
Consumers tend to purchase items within this price range without much thought. Anything more expensive than US$50 will usually incite people to research cheaper options online, so make sure you stand up to the competition if you are selling higher-priced items. Very low-cost items in the US$1-10 range are generally not worth the shipping costs and many people will just buy them in stores.
2. Item is unique and exciting.
Your customers buy from you because you have the newest or most interesting products. People tend to be less loyal to small e-commerce stores than to their local brick-and-mortar brands, so you need to keep your customers on their toes to keep them happy. Check what your competitors are selling and try to offer enough variety to differentiate yourself.
3. The product is non-perishable and easy to store.
Selling food can be lucrative, but it also means paying attention to expiration dates - and potentially losing a lot of money if you can’t sell fast enough. The same logic applies to hyper-trendy products; stick to high-quality items that will last through the season to keep your clients coming back. If possible, avoid very fragile items that could break during normal shipping or storage to prevent losses.
Items that are novel, relatively low-cost, and simple to process will often bring the most reliable income to your online business.
8 Hot Products to Sell Online in 2019
These eight categories will be in high demand in 2019, so stock up now.
Leggings are officially pants and everyone is officially wearing them. Athleisure is a relatively new phenomenon, used to describe activewear (read: what you wear to the gym) that is worn for anything but exercise. Many consumers buy these products to feel comfortable and stylish at the same time, so focus on high-quality clothing that fits well. Here are some of the items that might be a top sell:
2. Sustainable beauty products
Many consumers are now acutely aware of the damage we are causing to our planet. As people try to reduce their plastic waste, beauty products - often housed in layers of plastic and packed with chemicals - are usually the first to go. It is relatively inexpensive to replace these items with sustainable wood, bamboo, or other natural alternatives, and Alibaba offers many affordable options. Avoid sending these products with too much packaging; your customers are highly conscious of their impact on the environment. These products could be sold individually or as a package deal:
3. Travel accessories
Products that make travel easier will always be in style. As more people take to the skies each year, it’s no wonder that travel accessories made the top products list again for 2019. Not only are suitcases getting lighter each year, but new technology has brought about portable WiFi hotspots, Bluetooth-connected bags, and tiny cameras that are perfect for a weekend trip or a long trek. Best of all, since these items tend to be small, they are easy to store and ship!
4. Whimsical accessories
Colorful and adorable accessories decorated with rainbows, unicorns, and mermaids will continue to be a big hit in 2019. These products are not just for kids; customers are buying shot glasses, throw pillows, and makeup with these patterns, too. While these items might seem like a novelty, they have gained widespread popularity and will continue to be hot in 2019. Here are a few whimsical products to stock for your customers of all ages:
Like any new technology, smartwatches started as a niche product reserved for the very wealthy or tech-savvy. Now smartwatches have now gone mainstream. Many people are willing to look over the pricey Apple Watch for a more practical and affordable option. These items might be priced slightly over the ideal dropshipping range, but many people will be willing to pay a little bit more for a quality product, if you can find the right supplier. Since this market is just taking off, customers will be buying smartwatches en masse this year, so be ready with several alternatives to fit their needs.
As people become more health- and cost-conscious, eating in has become the new eating out. Many consumers are learning to cook for themselves and making resolutions to bring lunch to work in 2019. A busy home chef will try almost anything that makes the job easier, cleaner, or faster, so stock the newest gadgets to help them out in the kitchen. Here are a few products to kick off your cookware e-commerce business.
7. Products relating to specific diets
The beginning of a new year is always a great time to sell diet-related products. As people set off to accomplish their resolutions, many customers will be willing to test out new foods and techniques that fit into specific diet plans. The end of 2018 brought the keto diet to fame, although other diets like paleo, veganism, and Whole30 will continue to be common in 2019, as well. It can be hard for consumers to source specific foods for these complex diets, so many people will turn to an online store for help. Here are some items to stock to support dieters in 2019.
8. Wireless and Bluetooth products
Gone are the days of tangled wires and headphones. Smartphone users are now looking for phone accessories that connect wirelessly - usually via Bluetooth - for a more seamless and hands-free experience. The explosive popularity of Airpods and other wireless headphones are a clear example of this trend. However, you don’t have to stick to headphones; try stocking wireless chargers, Bluetooth speaker systems, or even connected smart keychains so your customers never lose their keys again. These products are great for dropshipping, as they are usually small and can easily be priced between US$10-40.
How to stay on top of e-commerce trends
Trends can be challenging to follow. By definition, a trend is short-lived and can disappear quickly, leaving you with extra stock or an old-fashioned reputation. Avoid this issue by closely watching trends on suppliers websites and reading consumer blogs. If you focus on a specific niche, pick a few industry publications that are popular with your target customers and monitor them monthly.
For a small store, it is often best to focus on a small subset of customers that you can serve really well rather than trying to compete for many areas. Monitor your sales and get to know your best clients so you can stock more of the items that really drive profits. Along with watching trends online, this system can help you tune in to your customers’ needs so they become loyal clients.
Staying on top of trends requires a constant effort, but you don’t need to update your website every time someone invents a new product. Focus on quality products that your customers love while introducing a few innovative products throughout the year to keep people coming back!
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