2019 was a record year for ecommerce. More than ever before, consumers were shopping online and will continue to do so in 2020. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic causing people to stay home, depending on the vertical, many ecommerce businesses have seen their sales grow to record levels, while other brands are launching new products to help support those in need while keeping their business strong.
In 2019, there were a few standout product types that took the market by storm and were high sellers. These include CBD oils, probiotics, eco-friendly products, and more — many of them within the health, beauty, and wellness market. In this post, we’ll look at the eight highest-selling product types of 2019 and take a closer look at how they’ll perform in 2020.
8 high-demand products and niches of 2020
Unless you’re running a marketplace, your ecommerce business will likely focus on a single niche. Whether it’s supplements, apparel, food or something else, people who visit your ecommerce store want to know what types of products you sell as soon as they land on your site.
Not sure what type of business to start, or which products can help increase your market share? Here’s a list of the top-selling products in 2019 and how we think they’ll perform in 2020.
1. CBD oils and products
Since the Farm Bill in 2018, CBD products have been flying off the shelves throughout most of the US with many states now allowing for the legal sale of CBD. With the COVID-19 pandemic, CBD businesses have reported record sales due to consumers focusing more on mental health, especially those that sell CBD oil online.
The CBD industry isn’t the easiest business to start online due to high competition and regulations for shipping CDB oil, but it’s a profitable business if you can get ahead. When researching opportunity, consider your state’s laws and regulations for CBD products. Depending on where you are, you may only be able to take and fulfill orders for CBD products in your own state.
If you currently own a CBD brand online and you’re looking for help fulfilling orders, ShipBob partners with CBD businesses to ensure orders are fulfilled and shipped quickly in the most affordable way.
“We place considerable expectations and pressure on shipping so we can get close to what Amazon does. With ShipBob, 100% of our orders are going out via 2-day shipping. We see that people are far more likely to order and keep ordering from us when 2-Day Express shipping is an option.”
Andrew Hardy, COO of Nature’s Ultra
2. Eco-friendly products
Sustainability and eco-friendly products are gaining popularity, especially with millennials and Gen Z consumers. These younger consumers want to order from businesses that show they care about the environment and are doing what they can to keep the planet healthy.
Doris Sleep is a great example of an eco-friendly brand that offers machine-washable hypoallergenic pillows made from recycled plastic water bottles from landfills. They partner with ShipBob to maintain a positive buying experience.
“With ShipBob, I can maintain my brand experience. It doesn’t end on my store — it lasts through that unboxing experience.”
Tracey Wallace, Founder of Doris Sleep
Even during COVID-19, many consumers still prefer essential products to be eco-friendly — as long as their favorite, go-to brands are able to keep up with the demand.
Boie USA is an eco-friendly personal care brand that saw fast growth after a successful Kickstarter campaign. They chose to partner with ShipBob not only for faster order processing, but also for the support ShipBob provides to meet high demand.
“ShipBob’s customer service continues to improve with direct contacts that know our account, real-time follow through, and a better customer delivery experience. They are a fulfillment partner that is truly an extension of our brand.”
Manuel de la Cruz, CEO at Boie
3. Natural skincare and cosmetics
Natural skincare and cosmetics have become increasingly popular as more consumers become aware of the effects artificial ingredients can have on their bodies and the environment. Consumers are turning toward personal care products that are made with natural ingredients such as aloe vera, active charcoal, tree oil, and more.
A great example of a fast-growing all-natural product is PiperWai, an aluminum-free deodorant that is also cruelty-free, certified vegan, and made in the US. After gaining visibility from being on Shark Tank, their high demand products took off, so they partnered with ShipBob to fulfill a high volume of orders.
ShipBob’s technology is far superior to what other 3PLs have. As soon as an order is placed on our Shopify Plus site, it’s pushed to ShipBob’s fulfillment software.
Sarah Ribner, Co-Founder, PiperWai
In response to the pandemic, PiperWai launched an all-natural cleansing hand gel, which they believe will remain a commonly purchased product long after COVID-19 ends.
Finding ways to offer a new product that’s in high demand during the pandemic can help your business move forward while supporting those in need, especially those working in the front lines.
4. Specialty teas
Tea is seeing a surge of popularity and will continue to be a best-seller in 2020. Many tea-based brands, such as Herbaly, have grown by selling specialty tea blends that aren’t available elsewhere.
Matcha is also a popular and trendy tea option that comes with many health benefits. For instance, fast-growing tea brand Cha Cha Matcha offers different matcha iced tea flavors along with high-energy branding that makes them stand out from other tea brands on the market.
When researching potential high demand teas to sell, look at the types of teas available and the benefits they provide.
5. Diet fad products
Health and fitness has been on the rise in ecommerce. But with COVID-19, now more than ever people are looking for alternatives and opportunities to stay healthy while staying home. Sticking to a healthy diet may seem challenging, but many ecommerce brands in this high demand diet market are findings ways to help their customers sustain a healthy lifestyle during novel times.
Synchro is nutrition and wellness brands that offers gluten-free, non-BGMO products, including keto-friendly foods, powerfoods, and more. Synchro customers depend on their products to relieve pain, provide energy, offer mental clarity, and even recover quickly from workouts. That’s why Synchro partners with ShipBob to make sure their products are sent to customers quickly.
Using ShipBob’s 2-Day Express Shipping program, we are able to offer 2-day shipping via ground to 80% of our customer base, which is much cheaper than expedited air.
Lindsay Louise, Fulfillment & Retail Manager at Synchro
We heard more about this in our COVID-19 ecommerce series, where ShipBob customer Organic Olivia discussed how their elderberry pro-immunity supplement, as well as ShipBob customer Ample Foods’ new ketogenic meal replacement have both been hits during quarantine.
6. Subscription food services
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people who are stuck at home are encouraged to grocery shop less frequently. Ecommerce meal kit companies, like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron are seeing challenges in sending high demand fresh meals to customers on time.
Similarly, meal replacement products that don’t require refrigeration are seeing a surge in sales due to their convenience and longer shelf life.
For instance, Ample Foods is a meal replacement brand that uses real-food ingredients that don’t require refrigeration. Since they partner with ShipBob, they are able to get orders shipped quickly, including subscription orders, by storing inventory close to their customers.
“From expanding into a second ShipBob fulfillment center, we are excited to be able to offer 65% of our customers with 2-day shipping, up from 32% by only having a single West Coast facility. Soon, this will be 100%. Not only is this better for our customers but we also gain a 13% savings to our bottom line.”
Pablo Gabatto, Business Operations Manager at Ample Foods
More customers are taking their health seriously and relying on natural products to help. Probiotics are a popular choice because they promote a healthy digestive system and aren’t expensive. Food-based probiotics like Kimchi and Sauerkraut and drinks like Kombucha are showing up in stores and online. Probiotic pills are also a popular option.
For instance, ecommerce brand Jetson offers a wide range of seasonal probiotics for kids and adults. Their products are always fresh and made in small batches, then shipped directly to your door.
8. Subscription orders
If you sell products that are considered “essential,” having a subscription service is a great option to offer your customers during this time. Through a subscription box or recurring orders model, you can ship essential products to your customers on a regular, predetermined basis.
For instance, MDacne, a digital health brand, is able to offer a personalized subscription product using ShipBob’s open API.
“ShipBob’s API lets us build custom logic since we ship personalized products with lots of variations in the kits we send. We can write a few lines of code instead of creating a manual kit for each possible order combination as we’d have to do in a tool like Shopify.”
Oded Harth, CEO & Co-Founder of MDacne
Tips on finding and selling high-demand products
When researching high-demand products to sell, certain trends can dictate why the product became popular in the first place and if its popularity is going to last. Fidget spinners were extremely popular a few years ago, but only for a short period of time because they were seen as a commodity with no lasting value. Probiotics became popular for their health benefits and low costs, so they likely won’t see a major dip anytime soon.
One thing to note during the COVID-19 pandemic is that essential products like hand sanitizers, face masks, toilet paper, and other essentials saw tremendous growth in sales. While it may be tempting to purchase these products and start selling them, keep in mind that customers aren’t going to be happy with brands that “hoard” these products and charge high prices for them.
1. Keep an eye on overseas products
Many products that become famous in the US first become popular internationally. With sites like Alibaba.com, make sure you’re checking often to see if there are any new business opportunities available. By knowing which products are popular overseas, you can begin to purchase these products and start advertising them to customers in the US to test if the product can drive more sales.
2. Look on local marketplaces for competition
Check marketplaces local to your country to see if customers are buying these high-demand products. For example, vitamins and supplements are popular products, but consider the following questions:
- What kinds of products are being purchased?
- Who is the audience?
- Are there other supplements you could sell that don’t have a clear market leader?
EnduroSport targets those who participate in outdoor sports all day. There were no healthy options going after this market, so they saw an opportunity. They were originally supposed to launch during the COVID-19 pandemic but pivoted to help those in need while waiting for the crisis to pass.
3. Differentiate yourself
Many products are commodities that can be purchased elsewhere under a different brand name. Why are your jeans better than jeans from your competitors? When promoting products, make sure to highlight the unique benefits of your products and how you stand out from the competition — such as being sustainable or using eco-friendly packaging.
Note: If you’re dropshipping, you won’t have too many opportunities to differentiate since the products are all the same. If you move to working with at 3PL though, you can speed up delivery times and win more business with faster shipping speeds.
4. Get 2-day shipping with a fulfillment partner
Did you stumble upon a hot-selling high-demand product that is flying off the shelves? If so, you’ll need a fulfillment partner like ShipBob to get your orders out in an impressive 2-day shipping fashion. Customers want faster shipping options, and affordable 2-day shipping is a proven way to increase sales conversions.
“We want the customer experience of purchasing on our website to be similar to Amazon Prime. This is possible with ShipBob, without inflating the shipping cost to an insane level. To do this, we are strategically storing inventory in three of their fulfillment centers. We find comfort in knowing we can scale and have orders fulfilled in a quick manner.”
Tim Fink, Co-Founder of EnduroSport
5. Keep tabs on sales trends during and after COVID-19
It’s important to keep a close look at how different verticals are performing at different seasons, times of the year, holidays, and of course when recessions hit.
ShipBob is keeping a close eye on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting online shopping. To help ecommerce brands stay informed, we put together a transparent overview of real-time sales data from thousands of our merchants. You can view the data here. You can see sports and fitness items have become high-demand products during the crisis when gyms are closed and people are stuck inside.
How ShipBob helps scale your ecommerce
If you want to create the logistics network capable of delivering high-demand products quickly and affordably, it’s going to cost a lot of time, money, and hiring the right people who can set everything up properly. That’s why many ecommerce businesses outsource fulfillment to ShipBob, who has a large network of warehouses, proprietary technology, and the logistics expertise to help brands manage high-demand products.
How does ShipBob grow your ecommerce business? With ShipBob, your ecommerce business can offer affordable 2-day shipping. By storing your products in our fulfillment centers and letting us fulfill your orders, your business can compete with Amazon and have an advantage over the competition.
“It’s paramount for people to feel confident that they will receive their products in the shortest amount of time possible. We’d hate to see our customers go somewhere else because we don’t offer 2-day shipping, so we use ShipBob’s 2-Day Express program.”
Francesca Cavallo, Co-Author of Rebel Girls
With 2-day shipping shown to improve conversion rates and reduce cart abandonment, partnering with ShipBob lets ecommerce merchants turn logistics and warehousing from a cost center to a revenue driver.
As we’ve seen in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ecommerce sales trends can change quickly. In 2020, we expect some of 2019’s high-demand products to remain popular — but with some shifts. The best thing you can do now, no matter what type of product you sell, is optimize your supply chain and prepare for potential future growth.
Partnering with the right 3PL can give your business the support and flexibility you need without having to manage ecommerce logistics for high-demand products in-house.
Interested in ShipBob’s fulfillment services? To learn more about choosing how 2-day shipping can help your ecommerce business, contact ShipBob by clicking the button below.