eCommerce purchases around the world are estimated to rise from 14% in 2020 to 22% in 2023 and by the year 2040, almost 95% of all purchases will be via eCommerce. Mind-boggling! Isn’t it?
While the growth of eCommerce over the recent years has been buoyant, the year 2020 (due to COVID-19) was instrumental in the way people shop and will continue to shop in the future.
No denying that eCommerce has massive potential but equally true is the fact that 90% of eCommerce start-ups fail within the first 120 days. One of the main reasons for their failure is little or no market for the product or services.
So, if you wish to venture into eCommerce and benefit from its expected tsunamic growth, one of the most crucial steps is to choose the product category diligently. Let us look at the best categories that sell through eCommerce.
Fashion and related products continue to be the best selling category in eCommerce. Of the worldwide eCommerce revenue estimated to stand at $2.7 trillion in 2021, consumers are expected to spend $759.5 billion in fashion alone. This would amount to more than one in every four dollars spent by consumers online.
With the emergence of ‘conscious consumers’ and Fashion being an ever-evolving industry, below are some of the eCommerce fashion trends which wannabe entrepreneurs need to be aware of:
ReCommerce and Rental
Sustainable and ethical fashion
Athleisure (Athletic + Leisure)
AI and virtual assistants
Delayed payment methods
Toys, Hobby and DIY
With estimated revenue of over $590 billion; toys, hobby and DIY is the second most lucrative category in eCommerce. This category includes the subcategories Toys & Baby, Sports & Outdoor, Hobby & Stationery, DIY, and Garden & Pets.
Shifting consumer habits favoring the digital-first mindset and big-box stores, the toy, and related retail landscape has dramatically changed. As suggested by analyst firm UBS, online sales of toys were growing 2 to 3 times faster than brick and mortar leading to many brick and mortar stores facing the brunt.
In 2018, the industry giant Toys “R” Us announced the closure of all its US stores. The analysis by Euromonitor predicted that eCommerce will be the only channel to see continued toy sales growth through 2022.
Electronics & Media
Consisting of subcategories Consumer & Communications, Electronics, Books, Movies, Music, and Games sold via a digital channel; this market segment is estimated to clock at US$542.4 billion in 2021. The global giant Amazon is the largest eCommerce retailer in the world with a very wide product selection but is mainly focused on Electronics & Media. The ranking of the most popular online stores worldwide in this segment can be found here.
To keep up with this highly dynamic segment, entrepreneurs need to be constantly aware of the latest trends and events. A single event can prove to be a defining force in sales.
The series ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ based on a chess prodigy debuted on Netflix in October 2020. The series got so immensely popular that the sales of chess sets and accessories on eBay skyrocketed by more than 215 percent since the debut of the show.
Food and Personal Care
This category consists of online trade of food and beverages (excluding baby food), medicine, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and personal care products. It also includes medical products for private use such as blood pressure monitors, disinfectants, and dressings. Revenue in this category is poised to reach US$468.5 billion in 2021 with maximum revenue coming from China.
According to analysts the food and personal care category is gaining traction and will emerge as the fastest-growing product group within the upcoming years.
Furniture and Household Appliances
Traditionally it was unusual for customers to buy furniture and appliances online given its high transportation costs and the concerns over how it would look in real life. But with help of visual search technologies and AI applications, furniture retailers are getting increasingly successful in attracting online customers. Flexible pricing, available EMI options, superior fulfillment services, and generous return policies can help entice the customer further.
Revenue from this category is expected to reach US$362.9 billion in 2021 and US $455.4 billion by 2025.
When was the last time you booked a plane ticket, reserved a hotel, or planned a trip in person? You most probably may not remember. This is how well the travel segment has adapted to the online revolution.
In 2019 the global travel agent market reached a value of US$744.7 billion which declined to US$595.8 billion in 2020 primarily due to travel restrictions imposed worldwide as an aftermath of the COVID pandemic. Post-COVID, this segment is expected to boomerang and reach US $902.2 billion in 2023.
Although big players such as Booking Holdings, Expedia, and TripAdvisor dominate the market, small entrepreneurs by way of differentiation and specialization can profit from this lucrative segment.
Online Educational Courses
One of the silver linings of the COVID pandemic has been the universal acceptance of online and distance learning. E-learning has become the new buzzword in education.
From US$187.8 billion in 2019, this segment is expected to reach a market size of US $319.2 billion in 2025. Low barriers of entry, increased penetration of the internet globally, advancements in the field of AI, and the presence of a large number of service and content providers will continue to spur market growth.
But this boom has also led to a proliferation of poorly designed courses and incompetent faculties. Content quality will continue to the defining factor to ensure success in this segment.
Though seemingly lucrative and glamorous, venturing into eCommerce is not without its unique challenges.
Cut-throat competition, continuously evolving marketplace, converting leads to sales, ensuring an outstanding customer experience, data security, and managing supply chain are some of the challenges which one needs to continuously overcome to ride the eCommerce wave.