Updated: Jun 29
To succeed in ecommerce, you need three things:
in-demand products to sell, the skills to market them, and the drive to succeed aka lots of learning.
You already have the winner’s mindset—you’re continually learning, researching, and preparing for success. But finding popular products to sell can be a crazy challenge. That’s why we update this list every year to help you uncover new trending product ideas in South Africa.
In this list, you’ll find 12 trending products in 2021 that will activate new business ideas or, you may find an in-demand product to add to your existing store. Since each trending product is meant for a distinct audience, we’re also sharing niche-specific tips for reaching new customers some time this year.
The trending products on this list are a handful of products with the highest Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) and total number of orders sourced from Oberlo and AliExpress. Additionally, each of these trending products can be found on Oberlo, which is available for free to all Shopify store owners. If you find a product that piques your interest, you can add it to your Shopify store in just a few clicks
These are the trending products to sell in 2021
Looking for the purrfect popular product to sell to pet owners? This pet bed has been clawing its way to the top of the sales charts. According to Google Trends, “dog bed” has seen some strong growth in search volume. The search keyword “dog bed” gets 234,000 monthly searches, and “cat bed” also has a sizable amount of search demand, with 60,500 monthly searches.
2. One size fits all sofa and couch covers
This sofa and couch cover is a popular product for homes with pets or children, as well as property owners who rent out their spaces on platforms like AirBnB. Sofa and couch covers are a popular product for hosts as they help keep furniture in pristine condition for all guests, and replacing a cover is significantly cheaper than replacing an entire three-piece set.
Not only has Google Trends shown a noticeable rise in searches for the product, Statista also estimates the sofa and seat industry to be a US $44,706m market in 2020. Last but not least, data from Statista predicts the market will grow 0.6% annually until 2023, which makes sofa and couch covers an ideal trending product you can sell for at least the next few years.
When marketing to customers that have pets or children, your best bets are wide-reaching channels such as Facebook and Google. But if you’re looking to acquire AirBnB hosts as your customers, you should consider geolocation in your acquisition strategy. According to AllTheRooms Analytics, there are 5 cities in South Africa with the highest occupancy rate. This data should give you a great insight into the type of Facebook Custom Audience you can build and target if you choose to appeal to AirBnB hosts.
3. Minimalist jewellery
Many people prefer the finer things in life. Evidently, it’s minimalist jewelry that has seen some of the strongest sales growth for retailers in recent years. Google Trends shows there are many frequent, high-volume searches from consumers for this more modest style of jewelry. Despite an expected annual growth rate of 2% until 2023, there has actually been an overall decline in the number of jewelry businesses available. Since the demand for the product is there, but the competition is not, a jewelry store could be a lucrative venture for any new or existing entrepreneur.
When it comes to marketing trending products like necklaces, the ideal platforms are typically Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. A simple way to elevate your jewelry store’s presence is to create videos featuring your products. Videos get more visible slots in Instagram’s Search and Explore pages, which will in turn create more visibility for your posts. Also, most jewelry retailers tend to post pictures, giving you a competitive advantage if you’re willing to put in a bit more work.
4. Beard straightener
Men’s grooming is quickly turning into one of the lucrative markets available. In 2018, Statista valued the industry at $60.6 billion USD, and it’s now expected to rise to $81.2 billion USD by 2024. As a whole, the men’s grooming industry is full of opportunities, but one item in particular has caught our attention: beard straighteners. Not only does Google Trends show the growth in search demand for this item, but there are also 37,000 monthly searches for beard straighteners. This is definitely one of the hot trending products to sell.
To turn this men’s beard straightener into a top-selling product on your store, consider using a mix of Google ads to target keywords with high purchase intent (e.g. “buy men’s beard straightener”), along with SEO-focused content to go after more informational terms (e.g. “how to straighten a beard”). Or, if you’re not a writer, instructional videos also work.
Educational content performs well in this product category because as the market demand grows, so do the needs of customers looking for tips on how to take care of their beards with these tools. Try to use content to solve common questions like, “what kind of comb is best for beards” and you’ll frequently be rewarded with search traffic.
Shapewear is shaping up to be one of the best evergreen niches to pursue—for the third year in a row, this product category has made our list. By 2022, the shapewear market is expected to skyrocket to about $5.6 billion in sales. What started as an undergarment has evolved into a piece of everyday wear.
Fashion retailers are also stocking their stores with bodysuits that help create a slimming silhouette. Though shapewear is still popular within the lingerie industry where it first emerged, the shapewear niche offers women a variety of different styles that can either be worn under clothing with different cuts or as a top.
What makes shapewear a product worth considering is that it offers retailers a lot of versatility: whether you sell lingerie, women’s fashion, or want to add this category to an existing general apparel store, you’ll be able to find shapewear in different colors, styles, and sizes to meet the needs of your diverse customer base.
You can sell trending products like this high-waist shapewear, which has generated over 6,000 sales in January of 2021. It has a seamless design and creates a visibly slimmer figure for your customers.
Backpacks have been a popular item to sell. But recently, the data shows they’re a clear frontrunner as one of the best products to sell online—in particular, this backpack has been surging in sales recently. As Google Trends shows below, search demand has grown year over year with consistent spikes around August. Statista estimates that backpack sales will rise from $19.1 billion USD in 2020 to $22.5 billion USD in 2023, ensuring this will be a top trending product for years to come.
Targeting your ideal customer depends on who it is; backpacks for children, college or university students, or adults. If you’re looking to sell backpacks for children, then your marketing will need to target parents. The best place to target parents is through Facebook ads, Instagram ads, and Pinterest. One thing to consider is that competing with other “back to school” marketing campaigns will result in inflated prices on ads. But, if you time your store and product launch before the schools reopen, you could see a surge in sales.
However, if you’re selling to college kids or adults, then you’ll need to reach them directly with Instagram ads, potentially by sourcing partnerships with Instagram influencers. Backpacks for adults that aren’t in college aren’t as susceptible to seasonal ups and downs, so if you’re looking for an all year-round product trend, this market could be a hit.
7. Post-workout massage guns
Massage guns are hand-held massage devices intended to be used after a workout to unwind and relax tense muscles. Massage guns are still relatively new, but consumer interest in them has been climbing since last summer. Interest is still high post-Christmas, and massage guns show clear signs of becoming a top trending product to sell in 2021.
To tap into the best-selling product potential of massage guns, look to video marketing and interactive ads on Instagram as your best distribution channel. Targeting your ads around particular Instagram hashtags or influencer’s handles could be your best customer acquisition method. Here’s why: It’s a growing trend among fitness gurus and enthusiasts to share anything from workout tips, routine videos, and what’s in their gym bag—their followers want to see their routine and what equipment they find essential for their workouts.
Working with influencers directly on Instagram could be another lucrative channel for sales. Getting a shoutout in their story or a reciprocal comment on one of their posts could be enough to drive new sales. For instance, there are certain niches in the fitness industry you can pick to focus on, from runners to CrossFit athletes, there is ample opportunity to showcase the benefits of massaging sore muscles with this item and turn it into a best selling product online.
8. Plaid Hoodie
The plaid clothing pattern has evolved from a flash in the pan fad to a timeless and consistently popular style. Despite the clothing market being a particularly competitive niche, these products niche are still a potentially lucrative option for ambitious entrepreneurs who want to build an apparel business. Google Trends shows a steady increase in interest over the past few years. With 1,900 monthly searches for “plaid hoodie,” there’s clear evidence that this is a robust niche market.
To turn selling plaid hoodies into a lucrative venture, it’s best to have your marketing target its niche market. The low search volume shouldn’t put you off from relying on organic search to drive sales. The keyword difficulty for this term is also quite low, leaving ample room for newcomers in the market to drive sales from organic search and create a top trending product for your business.
Around 1.2 billion watches are sold each year globally. And the number keeps rising. Last year we saw the rise of minimalist watches. In 2021, smartwatches will likely continue trending upward. December tends to be the peak month for watch sales, but it would be wise to include a relevant summer accessory to ensure higher profits year-round.
Facebook and Instagram tend to be the most popular channels for growing a watch store. Many watch retailers have influencers take lifestyle shots set wherever they travel, for outdoorsy and luxurious images that are perfect for social media. Entrepreneur Tim Kock launched a watch store and was able to make $6,667 in roughly eight weeks by using this approach.
You can start your first watch store by selling this Bluetooth smartwatch, which includes a built-in camera, sound recorder, step counter, sleep monitor, calendar, and more.
10. Infant and baby carrier
One recent product trending with new parents is the baby carrier. Since strollers are big and bulky, some parents are opting for smaller, compact harnesses to carry their newborn for a few hours. Google Trends shows we’re close to hitting peak interest for this product, so if you’re looking for a top-selling product with validated demand, consider acting fast.
To reach new parents with this item, you’ll once again turn to advertising on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re looking to explore other sales channels, consider selling on Amazon or listing your product on Google Shopping, although it’s worth noting that these marketplaces will take a fee from your sale. Another experiment to try is to market to a local group with flyers. Create discount codes and distribute them among new parent meetup groups in your town.
In fashion, trends are the only constant. However, athleisure is one fashion trend that has some staying power. No wonder, then, that it’s a trending item that’s made our list two years in a row. Athleisure is activewear worn as an everyday look rather than for athletic purposes like going to the gym. Within this category, you can sell everything from sweatshirts, sweatpants, leggings, sports bras, tank tops, headbands, capris, and shoes—all in countless colors and styles.
Plus, you can take this niche in several directions: with a dedicated store, a product collection within a broader fashion store, or you can market your products to one of the many fitness sub-niches. Depending on how you position your brand, there could be an opportunity to expand into other product verticals, such as fashion accessories and jewelry or fitness accessories like yoga mats.
Since millennial women are often the target market for athleisure, visual platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are ideal channels to grow your brand, whether you pursue organic growth or use their advertising options.
You can also look into driving growth with influencer marketing. One place to begin is seeking out fitness influencers within your niche using Instagram search tools. Influencers can model your apparel and give your brand a shout out for a fee or a commission of sales. You can start your athleisure store by selling these yoga leggings, which have been converting well for Shopify store owners using Oberlo.
12. Mesh Shoes
We’ve seen the rise of mesh shoes primarily as running shoes, but now they’re another item that’s moved from workout wear and into the athleisure category. Mesh shoes for women and men have also been a best-selling product for the last two years and show signs of being a trending item in 2021.