When you go to an online store and see 15 different product categories, your fight-or-flight instinct will kick in. It’s overwhelming to be bombarded with a ton of different options — and it doesn’t help if you’re unfamiliar with the company selling it to you.
While there are many enticing options for what to sell out there, sellers need to make a choice and double down in a specific niche. It doesn’t matter if baby clothes are all the rage right now — you sell dog-related items. Amazon has the infrastructure and dollars to sell both baby clothes and dog toys — you most likely do not.
In order to avoid dissonance on the part of customers and overextending a business before it even takes off, we’ve identified some of the best dropshipping product categories for consideration as you determine what to sell.
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1. Eco-friendly products
Consumers are more eco-conscious than ever, and their sentiments are reflected in their shopping habits. A study by GreenPrint found that if a product is clearly labeled as environmentally friendly, 78% of people are more likely to purchase the product.
Searches for eco-friendly items are on the rise as consumers become more environmentally conscious. A PwC survey found that 50% of consumers globally consider themselves more eco-friendly now — and 53% are buying more sustainable products.
Reusable bags are a major part of the consumer shift towards being eco-friendly, especially as countries push toward being less reliant on single-use plastics. Searches for ‘tote bag’ ( a popular eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags) have risen gradually over time.
Other products that you can add to your eco-conscious store include bamboo products and reusable water bottles. Bamboo is gaining popularity among consumers as it is biodegradable, and with water bottles, the less plastic used, the better it is for the environment.
Durability and quality are key when it comes to eco-friendly items — they have to be able to last for a long time. Consumers also appreciate stylish products that can blend seamlessly into their typical aesthetic. Consider selling more neutral-toned products as they can go with anything.
Key Tip: While consumers show growing interest in eco-friendly products, GreenPrint also found that these types of items are not easily identifiable by the average consumer. Sellers will need to put in extra work with detailed product descriptions and SEO to drive consumers to their site.
2. Plants and gardening
When you’re stuck inside, adding some greenery brings that feeling of nature indoors. While faux plants might work for some, there’s also demand for the real thing. According to the National Gardening Association, houseplant sales in the U.S. have grown to $1.7 billion over a three-year period — an increase of almost 50%.
Even better, a ScienceDaily study has shown that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity by up to 15%. The plants and gardening industry is growing now more than ever as people look for new creative, calming, non-digital outlets both indoors and out.
To serve the growing consumer interest in houseplants, dropshippers can stock the items needed to maintain plants — watering cans, misters, and gardening tools like trowels and spades are great starting points.
However, since tools tend to be one-time purchases, sellers should look to products that lead to recurring purchases in order to sell more frequently. Items that add to the plant owner’s aesthetic, like plant pots, hangers, and plant-themed décor, fall under this category as they are more likely to be replaced often.
Key Tip: Indoor plants can vary greatly in price, but regardless of cost, plant owners want to keep their plants alive. Unfortunately, most owners aren’t knowledgeable about plant care. Invest in educational social media and blog posts that show your audience which types of plants to buy and how to take care of them.
3. Home and office
The line between the home and office has been blurred in consumers’ homes — making for an interesting combination of categories and consumer trends.
With most people still working from home, video calls have become the default communications channel — and workers are paying more attention to their workspaces than ever. This CraftJack study found that 90% of respondents have spent money on their workspace in the past year.
Dropshippers can tap into all the money being invested by remote workers with items that enhance workspaces and overall productivity. Although chairs and desks may be too heavy to start with, there are other items that improve the function of a workspace — including laptop stands, webcams, ring lights, tripods, and desk lamps.
Sixty-eight percent of people prioritize the appearance of their background — with 41% displaying art, pictures, or décor, 29% displaying books, and 27% displaying plants. Sellers can add decorative items like art prints, mousepads, and artificial plants — all of which elevate the beauty of workspaces.
Key Tip: CraftJack also parsed the different industries that prioritize their workspaces’ appearance (accounting and HR came out on top). Sellers can use this information when figuring out audience targeting and overall marketing strategy. Craft your outreach and copy around the audience’s pain points.
4. Yoga and wellness
People working from home are looking for ways to exercise and decompress — yoga is increasingly their answer to that. Yoga practitioners spend $90 per month on yoga, and Statista found that over 55 million people practice yoga in the U.S.
Fashion, comfort, and quality are important factors when choosing the products you’ll be selling. Consumers may change their workout gear frequently for aesthetic purposes, but there’s no point in repurchasing from a seller if the items feel cheap and uncomfortable.
Sixty-two percent of consumers want their workout wear to align with fashion trends — something for sellers in this category to keep an eye on. Yoga mats and balancing boards are necessary equipment for yoga practitioners, so sellers should consider adding those to their inventory as well.
Key Tip: Sellers in this category should not be hyper-focused on pushing their products — rather, invest in helpful yoga-related content. Lululemon, a popular seller of workout gear for women, has a section on its website dedicated to how-to guides and interviews for its audience. The content created doesn’t sell anything but rather provides value to their audience of wellness enthusiasts through educational content.
5. Pet supplies
Pet supplies are a stable category that dropshippers should consider when deciding what niche to sell in. Owners spend up to $500 on their pets every year, and a chunk of that goes to supplies.
The pet supply category saw a boom in 2020 that is likely connected to the increase in pet adoption in 2020, due to the pandemic. Pet supplies are a leading industry category in the United States, with sales of approximately $22.1 billion in 2020. Feeding bowls, beds, and toys are always good products to start with.
Pet loss is another concern for pet owners — the American Humane Association estimates that “one in three pets will become lost at some point during their life.” To avoid losing pets, owners are recommended to tag pets with some form of identification. Sellers should consider adding pet tags, leashes, collars, and trackers to their inventory.
Key Tip: For first-time owners, adopting and trying to take care of a new pet can be a learning curve. Focus your marketing on helping them navigate pet ownership — and position your products as great tools to help them on their journey.
6. Cooking and baking
Interest in home cooking and baking is higher than ever, with 54% of people cooking more and 46% of people baking more. And combined with the increase in cooking-themed videos on social media, the cooking and baking category is a good place for dropshippers looking for the right niche.
Products to consider in this category include utensils, storage containers, cutting boards — anything that makes the process of cooking and organizing the kitchen afterward a bit easier. These items may not be recurring purchases, so sellers should also add napkins, aprons, and placemats to their inventory to mix things up and create recurring revenue for themselves.
Key Tip: Thanks to the aforementioned rise in popularity of cooking-themed videos on social media, sellers who tackle this category have a marketing tactic ready to go. Invest in helpful video content showing off your products during cooking or baking, or send them to influencers. Even a micro-influencer can bring in a dedicated audience — as long as the content is done right.
Do your own research to find what product category will work best
New sellers will often make the mistake of selecting dropshipping items based on their personal interests or the interests of those around them. If you were running a passion project through Etsy, that would be acceptable. However, to compete in the crowded dropshipping space, you’ll need to select niches that are popular with consumers. A bike-gear seller might not be passionate about that specific niche, but they’ll definitely be winning in Europe’s great bicycle boom.
When deciding on what products to sell, here are some factors to consider:
- Who are your customers, and what is their typical income range? If you don’t have a lot of capital to begin with, you might want to start with smaller, more accessible products.
- Will your products be recurring or one-time purchases? This will also affect pricing. If people aren’t constantly buying your products, then you may have to raise your prices to see a decent profit.
- Does the price point match the presale service you need to provide? A $20 item won’t receive the same customer queries as a $500 item.
- How big or small are the items? Smaller is usually better — the bigger the item, the higher your shipping costs.
- Is the product scarce or unique in the locations you’re targeting? If customers can walk 20 minutes to find exactly what you sell, then you might want to consider something else.
Want to do your own research? Here are some of the best places to find potential product categories:
- Google Trends to see what searches have been popular
- Amazon ‘Best Sellers,’ which displays the most popular products, based on sales, for every niche
- ‘Trending’ on eBay, which shows you the top 10 products that users are searching for the most
- Thieve.co, which analyzes the popularity of different keywords and product categories by aggregating information from Facebook and AliExpress searches.
Not all products you sell will be profitable — there are still many other elements outside of your niche to consider. Starting a dropshipping business is an investment, and those fail all the time. Do your best to reduce the chances of failure by conducting deep research on the market for your products, marketing aggressively, and building customer and supplier relationships.