It’s never too early in the year to start planning for a new season of gift-giving. If last year serves as any indication, ecommerce experts are anticipating a new record-breaking holiday shopping season in 2021.
With the 2020’s global health crisis, shoppers have come to rely more than ever before on online channels, embracing online shopping when physical stores shut down or proved too risky.
During last year’s holiday shopping season, consumers in the US broke new records. A 2020 study reported that 63% of US consumers bought goods online that they never considered purchasing over an app or online store pre-pandemic. It’s safe to say that a huge shift was made recently caused by nothing less than the pandemic.
Now that a new holiday shopping season is upon us, it’s only natural for you to ask yourself what may be in store and how to prepare yourself and your shop for a successful season.
This article was written to highlight certain products and product categories that may give you a boost as you join in the biggest shopping season of the year, whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, Black Friday, Boxing day, and more.
Here are the top 10 biggest product trends that are driving ecommerce sales this holiday shopping season:
1. Toys & Games
What’s Christmas without a little fun and games? Toys are making it on top of this year’s list as one of the top anticipated product categories to go big as kids and the kids at heart all over the world satisfy their need to play and have fun.
The global toy reached a global sale of $95 billion in 2020, posing a compound annual growth rate of 2.7%. According to the Research and Markets report, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has pushed the growth of online sales in the global toy market. For regions like North America, Latin America, and Europe, the majority of online toy sales are generated during the festive seasons of winter.
Popular product lines include board games, action figures, building sets, dolls, puzzles, and arts and crafts tools.
2. Work from Home Must-Haves
While many workers have gone back to the office, whether reluctantly or happily, the importance of having a proper work from home setup has never been more apparent. 2020 had many of us transitioning to working and studying at home full-time, prompting an increase in the demand for home office furniture and accessories.
According to consumer forecasts, consumers are valuing comfortability and products that help them improve productivity in the home office environment. Manufacturers today are focusing on designed furniture and WFH accessories that decrease stress and offer better ergonomics, producing merchandise that makes working and studying from home better.
Across the 2021 holidays and onward, consumers are continuing to fuel the need for the improved quality of the work-from-home lifestyle, creating a bigger demand for desks, comfortable office chairs, better cameras for zoom meetings or online classes, and other office related tech.
3. Health & Weight Loss
A solid player that makes it on the list is the health and weight loss products and services category. And remember that, while the holidays are marked as a time to indulge, they also come with new health and fitness-related resolutions—whether we find ourselves sticking to them or not.
But the fact is, staying healthy and in shape has never been more important. With many of us spending a lot more time at home than usual because of the pandemic, the increased interest in fitness equipment people can use at home to stay in shape has remained popular.
With weight loss being a problem shared by many globally, and the pandemic causing a lot of us to put on the pounds, there is a massive market dedicated to helping people shake off those extra kilograms.
While you can sell exercise equipment and yoga mats online, fitness influencers and bloggers are also having quite the field day when it comes to online sales, especially during the holidays. Online stores and influencers are selling personal training programs online, selling pre-made exercise plans, and meal plans to their clients all around the world.
4. Cozy Clothes
Running an online fashion boutique? If you are, it’s high time to roll out some cozy outfits, sweaters, pajamas, and everything athleisure. Not only because the days are getting chillier, but also because the state of fashion is sweatpants.
The holidays are a time when people catch up on retail therapy and according to Forbes-Bell, a fashion psychologist, comfort will remain an important fixture in our wardrobe, with lounge-wear and functional pieces taking center stage.
Anyone who loves comfort and athleisure is probably rejoicing, as this fashion trend will continue to reign supreme across the holidays and into the coming year.
Are you an artist selling art online and thinking of how to make more sales during the holidays? If you are, 2021 is proving to be an exciting time. The latest trend that is sweeping the internet, called NFTs is simply explosive. Compared to 2020’s measly $13.7m markets, the NFT market has surged to $2.5 billion during the first half of 2021.
For the uninitiated, NFTs stand for Non-Fungible Tokens. Something that is Non-Fungible cannot be replicated, and each NFT art piece purchased guarantees the buyer a verifiable version of the piece minted by the artist. When you mint an NFT, it becomes a part of a public ledger or blockchain. A commonly used blockchain used to mint, store, and sell NFTs is the Ethereum Blockchain, currently the most popular hub for NFT art sellers.
(For artists with concerns regarding the energy consumption of minting art with Ethereum, there are markedly eco-friendlier platforms like the Cardano blockchain to look into.)
Today NFT art continues to attract investors due to its explosive valuation, and it’s bringing with it more empowerment and control to digital artists who are selling their work safely online, with digital versions that can finally be validated as originals.
6. Pet Accessories
Pets are family too and aren’t being left out during the holidays. The pet industry broke its record in 2020, with an approximate revenue of $103.6 billion, a 9.7% increase from the previous years that experts in the field attribute to the pandemic, with 47% of pet owners reporting an increase in the number of times they purchased pet products online.
Lately, we’ve been spending more time with our pets and the comfort and joy they bring us have become simply more apparent. This is a trend we don’t see going anywhere soon and we expect an increase in pet accessory sales during the holidays.
With more people embracing the pet-loving lifestyle, the pet care niche is a booming industry, and ecommerce entrepreneurs running online pet shops or running a "gifts for pets" product category should stock up in preparation for the gift-giving season.
Now, let’s be honest. The holidays are about a lot of things, but one thing tends to stick out in our minds—and that’s all the home-cooked food and sweets we’ll be having.
Houseware and kitchenware make a general uptick during the holidays, but we saw a significant rise in the interest in cooking and baking in 2020 and into the first half of 2021. Consumers took to a new interest and are stocking up on the basics and also treating themselves to nifty new appliance upgrades.
With the increased time we tend to spend in the kitchen and dining area cooking and hosting meals for family and friends, this forces consumers to reevaluate their arsenal of baking pans, serving plates, gadgets, and silverware, prompting the desire to refresh and upgrade kitchen staples during the holidays.
If you run an online store selling homeware, it’s time you also reevaluate your kitchenware category and stock up on innovative and convenient products, as well as delicate design pieces fit for the holidays.
8. Gifts for Men
A lot of wives, girlfriends, and daughters have turned to Google in search of “gifts for men” all year round, and the holidays are an especially great time for the ecommerce entrepreneur to direct consumers in the right direction.
One of the tips we’ve always highlighted across our ecommerce blog and guide is to have very specific gift guides during the holidays and not to forget the guys. It’s also worth noting that general physical stores selling men’s products are usually lacking, especially in terms of grooming tools and hobby products. It’s an easy fact to take note of that women’s shelves tend to be better stocked and that men may not necessarily be getting what they want and need off of physical store shelves.
This holiday season, consumers are turning to online stores and going over blogs dedicated to men’s self-care or other male-specific products, whether it’s in beard care, leather goods, and hobby tools.
9. Products Tied to a Cause
While the holidays tend to highlight the consumerist landscape of the society we live in today, the gift-giving nature of the season is rarely forgotten. Many of us intrinsically feel good when we do good for others and one of the ways to join in on the spirit of the holidays is to align your brand or a specific product in your lineup with a good cause.
Research shows that 66% of Gen Z and millennial Consumers say that a brand's association with a social cause positively impacts how they feel about a brand, with 58% of respondents saying that this also has positive impacts on their likelihood to become paying customers and regular customer of a brand.
It's worth noting that today’s young consumers sympathize and support businesses that share their social values. This season, find a social cause or charity that you would like to donate your proceeds to, and perhaps add a specific product to your inventory dedicated to a good cause that is also aligned with the holidays.
Read our article on socially conscious consumerism to learn more.
10. Hiking Gear
Since spending a good part of 2020 and 2021 indoors, there has been a renewed interest in the outdoors, the environment, and in outdoor gear—according to National Parks Travelers.
The popularity of tents, lanterns, backpacks, camping chairs, and camp stoves is going up as people learn to appreciate being socially distant in nature.
Hiking boots are also growing between the men and women who are in search of new adventures, and manufacturers have been coming up with new technologies to bring hiking boots and other outdoor apparel to a new level. If you are running an online store selling hobby equipment or sports-related goods and apparel, now is a good time to think about your hiking and camping selection.
Back to You
There you have it, we have given you the top 10 hot products and categories for 2021’s ecommerce holiday and now it’s time for you to start refining that holiday ecommerce strategy. We hope that this article will help you make an informed decision this season, just make sure to start preparations early so that you can give your customers a smooth and unforgettable shopping experience.
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