Online retail is booming right now, it’s been on an upwards trajectory for some time but the pandemic and accompanying restrictions have left many consumers little choice but to head to the web for their shopping fix.
In 2019 the percentage of all shopping done digitally was nearing 20% but in 2020 the numbers have soared with British online sales pushing £100 billion by the end of the year.
What’s the takeaway? Online is where it’s at, and businesses looking for new ways to bring in revenue in the face of adversity are wise to up their offering on the web in order to stay competitive, give consumers what they want, and boost bottom lines.
If you’re unsure where to start or what products will bring home the bacon, we’re here to help with our breakdown of the best products to sell online in 2021, let’s get to it.
Let us start by saying you’ll notice a trend in all the categories we cover here - they’re all super relevant to the situation we’re living through.
Vast swathes of consumers have had their lives turned upside down, forced to be at home for the majority of their days, and this has impacted consumer behaviour big time.
Thanks to this shift there is now a huge demand for products to improve the home, whether it’s DIY materials, decor, furnishings, or otherwise - people are more motivated than ever to give their home a spruce up.
To give you a handful of examples, the following product sales have skyrocketed in the past 12-months:
So, to boost your sales and get in on the online action, consider adding some homeware items to your catalogue.
Self-care items are big business right now, and it makes perfect sense why - salons are shut and consumers are feeling a little down in the dumps - the solution? Indulge in an at-home pamper session.
Online sales of DIY beauty products are at an all-time high, and in the last six months sales of the following items have gone through the roof:
And it’s not just pampering products to make people feel their best that are doing well, but more necessary self-care items like blue light glasses to reduce the glare from screens, and let’s face it, during lockdown we’re all spending a lot of time looking at screens.
If the pairing of the words ‘home’ and ‘school’ sends a shiver down your spine, you’re not alone - parents up and down the country have discovered a newfound admiration for teachers after being handed the reigns during lockdown.
The knock-on effect is a boom in stationery sales online - at the height of the first lockdown in 2020, the likes of felt tips, ready-mixed paints, paper, and colouring pencils couldn’t be found for love nor money as parents stocked up on supplies.
Of course, it’s not just the nation’s children who’ve been working from desks at home but huge numbers of the workforce too - and they don’t have access to a supply cupboard, so what do they do instead? Yep, head online and start spending.
WiFi repeaters, laptop accessories, desks, swivel chairs, notebooks, phone tripods, and laptop skins all saw big increases in sales last year.
Fun fact: many businesses are now considering a permanent move to home-working given how successfully employees have performed, meaning this trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
For some of us, the closing of gyms has been a welcome excuse to vegetate, but for others, it’s been a painful loss and has left exercise enthusiasts on the hunt for an at-home fix.
Unsurprisingly then, sales of workout equipment have soared (there’s only so long you can stand using a bag of flour as a weight, after all), and businesses selling them are lining their pockets. For example, the following items were some of the biggest sellers of 2020:
Top tip: If you’re in the fitness business, consider accompanying your products with video content on YouTube and other social platforms - it’ll up engagement and customer satisfaction big time, boosting your success both now and down the line.
Remember when every man and his dog decided to bake sour bread in the same week? Yep, we’re stuck at home, we’re running out of rooms to decorate, and we need something to help pass the time - cooking and baking are perfect.
You’ve got options when it comes to this one, depending on what line of business you’re in. If you’re a restaurant, cafe, greengrocers, etc., you might sell DIY boxes packed full of ingredients with instructions, or subscription boxes with seasonal produce.
Fun fact: sales of subscription boxes took off during the first national lockdown.
On the other hand, if you operate an online store you could add items like these, which topped the list on sales last year:
Looking at the same four walls all day can take its toll on a person, and that’s why sales of gardening supplies have climbed steadily in the past year - it’s something else for consumers to focus their attention on and break the monotony of lockdown.
Depending on your target audience it’s important to remember not everyone has heaps of outdoor space, so stocking items to suit every space is a wise idea. A great example is bird food, sales of which went sky high (excuse the pun) last year.
In fact, in Amazon’s list of the top 20 best selling garden and outdoor supplies, bird feeding items features 10 times. Besides that, here’s a handful of other top sellers:
Part and parcel of wanting your home to look its best is cleaning, and that in combination with our new obsession to keep surfaces and objects sanitised and disinfected has contributed to a surge in cleaning-related products sales.
Naturally, big sellers last year were the likes of hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes, sprays, and bleach, but it goes beyond the cleaners themselves - consumers are using their new time to try out the latest innovations and solutions on the market - like steam mops, hoover attachments, and window vacs.
We mentioned subscriptions earlier, and it’s relevant here too - there’s been a flurry of new online options for consumers to choose from when it comes to their cleaning products, with many businesses opting to go down the eco-friendly, reusable, green route - much to the delight of many consumers - delivered straight to our doors.
Last but not least is our beloved four-legged friends - our pets. It’s fair to say they’ve probably enjoyed the events of the past 12 months more than most, with all the extra attention and petting they’ve gained from our time at home.
Owners’ connection with their furbabies have strengthened more than ever, and it shows in the stats - sales of pet products have been pretty staggering, including:
To name but a few - dipping your toe in the pet products water is likely to pay dividends for your business’ online sales.
The best products to sell online in 2021 are likely to be those which meet the needs of consumers right now. The items which are recording the highest sales are changing in line with our circumstances, so our top tip is to keep your finger on the pulse, read the room, and tailor your offering accordingly.
Remember, if your business isn’t directly related to online sales, for example, if you’re a restauranteur, that doesn’t mean you can’t pivot your business model in the interim and find new ways of bringing in revenue such as online subscription boxes and doorstep deliveries.
We wish you every success when it comes to online sales in 2021, and remember at takepayments we’re with you every step of the way. If your online payments solutions need bringing up to speed, our payment gateway is super simple and could have you up and running in no time.
Find out more here, or reach out to our friendly experts for a chat on 08082 393254.