Sometimes the hardest part of getting started in ecommerce is figuring out your niche. You have the entrepreneurial itch and you’re eager to test the waters, but unsure of where to begin.
In this article, we’ll talk about 12 trending products in 2021 that will help you get off the ground. You can use the suggestions to start a brand new store or add to an existing website. We will also talk about specific marketing and outreach tips for each product so that it’s a little easier to get that coveted first sale.
Our suggestions are high demand products in Singapore, based on data from Google Trends and in-house research. We will continue to add more items as we go about our analysis. Be sure to bookmark this article and check back for periodic updates!
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Best Selling Products in Singapore
Singaporeans are fashion conscious consumers and dresses are an evergreen item that receives plenty of interest all year round. This means entrepreneurs new to the industry can make use of existing search queries and high levels of buyer intent.
Data from Google Trends shows consistent search volume for the keyword ‘dresses’ with interest reaching as high as 100 in the first few months of the year.
Further research from SEO tool SEMRush reveals that there are an average of 6,600 monthly searches for ‘dresses’. Other popular variations of the keyword include ‘wedding dresses’ at 4,400 / month, ‘bridesmaid dresses’ at 2,400/month, and ‘prom dresses’ also at 2,400/month.
While it’s not easy to rank for these keywords organically as evidenced by the ‘keyword difficulty’ bar, there are a few things that new stores can do to boost their visibility and drive traffic.
Visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are an excellent place to set your designs apart from the rest. A consistent social publishing schedule with trending hashtags will help your page with discoverability. You can also partner with related pages to get a shoutout in a post or Instagram Story. With Instagram trying to promote content on Reels, the more videos you make the higher your chances of organic social media growth.
Other tactics worth trying out are:
- Running contests to encourage people to follow your page and tag their friends
- Featuring your customers on your page with user-generated content
- Q&A sessions on Instagram Live to talk about your designs
- Product posts with shopping tags
Google Adwords campaigns can also place your store on the first page of search engines. The average cost per click for ‘dresses’ is $0.34 SGD; a paid search campaign would boost your store to the top of the results and help you get initial visibility with your target audience.
2. Facial cleansers
The personal care market in Singapore is expected to reach $580 million SGD in 2021 with millennial consumers eager to move away from expensive luxury brands and try direct-to-consumer offerings.
There are an average of 1,000 monthly searches for the keyword ‘facial cleanser’ in Singapore with other variations such as ‘best facial cleanser’ netting an additional 590.
When it comes to finding things to sell online in Singapore, facial cleansers are a safe bet. The additional perk of building a store in this category is that you’re very likely to get repeat customers. A facial cleanser is used daily so your customer lifetime value will be high, provided your product delivers on its promises.
Visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are a good way to get started. User-generated content such as video reviews and testimonials can help drive trust in your brand. You might also want to work with influencers in your niche as they have a large social following which you can leverage to drive traffic to your store.
While the average cost per click for facial cleansers is a little high at SGD 2.09, you should take into account that this category definitely benefits from repeat purchases. And if customers love your product, they are likely to recommend it to friends and family, lowering your cost of new customer acquisition.
Social ads on Facebook are also worth pursuing, especially if you can leverage high-quality creatives and before-and-after pictures that show the benefits of your product.
Long form content such as blogs can help set up your store for organic sales in the medium to long-term. Keywords such as ‘best facial cleanser’ are best targeted by informational content as they cater to top of the funnel search queries. By driving such traffic to your store, you’re exposing your brand to new customers who might not have heard of you before.
3. Perfumes & Colognes
Fragrances are a popular category all over the world and Singapore is no exception. The market in the lion city was valued at $172 million SGD in 2021 and it’s expected to grow at a rate of 2.5% annually.
Data from Google Trends shows consistent interest for perfumes throughout the year, with the highest levels during the holiday shopping season.
In terms of numbers, there are over 8,000 monthly searches in Singapore for perfumes. While it’s difficult to rank organically for the keyword, the $0.96 SGD cost per click isn’t exorbitant. Again, this implies that an initial Google Adwords campaign can give your store visibility in search results and help drive traffic.
While perfumes are one of the best selling products in Singapore, you don’t necessarily have to start by sourcing established brands. An emerging category is the ‘made-in-Singapore’ fragrance where aspiring perfumers attend workshops to create signature blends and scents. Many local brands have emerged as a result of this growing trend.
Once you have developed a fragrance that is distinct and embodies your personal style, it’s easier to set yourself apart from the competition. Building your own brand also helps in terms of pricing; you’re not subject to the whims of large brands and can price your products slightly cheaper to encourage the initial sales boost.
The relative seasonality of fragrance sales in Singapore means you can position your perfume brand as a Christmas or Chinese New Year gift. Consumers also tend to buy perfumes and colognes for their partners in the days leading up to Valentine's Day, which is another opportunity to market your scents.
Shoe sales are both impulse-driven and a necessary purchase, which means your store can cater to buyers with varying degrees of intent. Singaporeans retain high interest in shoes all year round, with levels frequently at 100 and rarely dropping below 80.
In total there are over 8,000 monthly searches in Singapore for shoes, representing an opportunity to capture inbound traffic.
If you’re looking to start a footwear brand of your own, then social media campaigns would work best. Top-notch creatives are key; you might want to consider a combination of static images and short videos. If your shoes have specific attributes such as water resistance or firm grip, then be sure to highlight those in your copy and creative.
Shoes are generally a high-ticket item which means it’s slightly harder to get sales. Assuage your buyers’ concerns by offering free returns and exchanges. You could also partner up with apparel stores to build ‘shop-the-look’ options.
5. Household cleaning products
Lockdowns and social distancing measures have forced us to spend more time indoors. The trend is likely to stay well into 2021, so it’s a good time to start thinking about shifting consumer preferences and how you can cater to them.
At-home activities mean we need to keep our environment clean, dust-free, and germ-free. If you find yourself cleaning your apartment more frequently than usual, it’s because we’ve shifted many of our out-of-home activities indoors. We’re exercising from home, engaging in socially-distanced video calls, building home offices, and cooking more frequently. Demand for cleaning products has increased as a result.
When building a store that offers household cleaning products, you can consider offering a subscription package. Apps like ReCharge sync with Shopify, making it easier to build a subscription offering and generate repeat sales. Cleaning products are not a one-time purchase and you can incentivize customers to sign up for subscriptions by offering discounts.
Singaporeans will spend SGD $853 million buying tea in 2021, making it a lucrative market for new stores to target. Consumer obsession with bubble tea is well known with many corner stores and vendors hawking the sugary treat, but there are other types of tea you can sell, too.
Search interest for tea is stable throughout the year, as evidenced by Google Trends.
There are an average of 5,400 monthly searches for tea in Singapore. It’s easier to rank for this keyword organically, meaning an SEO strategy can start to bear fruit quicker than some of the other products on this list.
Singaporean millennials have a growing interest in drinking specialty and non-caffeinated teas for health benefits, too. Herbal teas, Matcha teas, and Oolong teas are blends you can consider selling to set yourself apart from bigger, well-known brands. Many lifestyle blogs and influencers are incorporating teas as part of cocktails and cuisines, which is an opportunity you can tap into when first starting out.
As a new tea brand, it is vital to start building a social following. Investing in food photography will help with enticing images, which you can use for paid campaigns on Instagram and Facebook. Transparency about your ingredients and health benefits will assist in building trust, a crucial aspect for any new ecommerce business.
7. Mobile phone cases
Singaporeans are some of the most connected people in the world, with an average of 12 hours a day spent on digital devices. Time spent on mobile phones ranks the highest, with an average of 3 hours and 12 minutes every day.
Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi are the most popular smartphone brands in the lion city so it is to be expected that demand for compatible cases is also high.
The keyword ‘iphone cases’ has over 1,600 monthly searches with a relatively low cost per click of $0.53 SGD.
Model-specific searches are even higher, with the keyword ‘iphone 11 case’ attracting nearly 3,000 monthly searches.
With large smartphone manufacturers frequently releasing new models and vying for market share, there is a viable opportunity to build stores that offer accessories and related items. Many consumers prefer having several cases to match their outfit or mood. And since mobile phone cases are often impulse purchases, your best bet is to run conversion campaigns on social media platforms that utilize high-definition and vivid creatives.
Many sites offer print-on-demand mobile phone cases, which means you can upload your designs and print when you make a sale. This reduces inventory costs and helps you get started with lower capital upfront.
8. Action & Toy Figures
Action figures are a popular category that attract interest from a number of age groups. Contrary to popular perception, action figures aren’t just for kids. A number of adults purchase them too, especially when the figures relate to superheroes, movies, and television shows.
There are about 720 monthly searches in Singapore for action figures.
While you might assume there’s low search queries for action figures, the fact is that these are often items that you can build demand for. Shopify store MightyJaxx is a superb example of an action & toy figure store that marries pop culture trends with exceptional design to create winning products.
You could also offer action figures as part of a larger store that focuses on toys. This keyword has over 6,600 monthly searches in Singapore and it’s not very pricey to run a Google Adwords campaign for it, either.
Mugs are a hot-selling category as they can be personalized for a wide range of use cases. Lots of people order custom mugs for events, trade shows, and celebrations. You can also design your own mugs to coincide with holidays such as Chinese New Year or global developments such as election results.
There are over 2,400 monthly searches for ‘mugs’ in Singapore. The average cost per click is low at $0.17 SGD, which makes it possible for you to start a search campaign without breaking the bank.
Similar to mobile phone cases, new entrepreneurs looking to sell mugs online can leverage print on demand services. This allows you to upload your designs and order each item once you make a sale. There’s no need to hold inventory, saving you from an upfront cash investment.
Social media campaigns are worth exploring when it comes to marketing and outreach for this item. Unless you’re advertising a high-quality mug similar to Yeti, we believe you should try and showcase your designs in the campaign. Vivid and eye-catching designs are likely to do well and boost your conversion rates.
We’ve mentioned before how Singaporeans love to shop for fashion items, and handbags are no exception. The size of the handbags & accessories market will be $245 million SGD in 2021, growing at almost 9% annually.
Overall, there are approximately 2,400 monthly searches for ‘handbags’ in Singapore.
Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are the best way to start building a social following. While Singaporeans definitely seek out large brands, there’s opportunity to build your own label too. One way to set yourself apart is to cater to fashion trends and move faster than your competition.
Bag trends for 2021 herald the arrival of tiny bags and top handle bags as the hottest two categories. Other popular items will be clutches, modern equestrian, and spotlight on straps. You’re likely to receive more interest if you build (and sell) these products before others do.
Partnering with influencers, starting contests and giveaways, and investing in superior product photography are proven methods to grow your lifestyle handbags store.
Candles, particularly those of the scented variety, are a lifestyle product popular with a variety of age groups. They’re suitable for a number of occasions, such as a way to relax and unwind after work, date night, or just to uplift your mood.
Singaporeans love to shop for candles. The keyword has over 5,400 monthly searches with plenty of local artisanal candle brands active in the market.
The strength of your candle brand will depend on the scents as well as packaging. Well-written and designed product pages that display the ingredients of your candle and its therapeutic effects will help resolve buyers’ questions.
Reviews from lifestyle blogs and publications can also go a long way in building trust. This helps customers understand your unique scent. Your social pages should also exude a sense of calmness, tranquility, and peace. Those are the emotions you wish to evoke in your target audience as they’re looking towards your product for help with that.
12. Herbs & Spices
Singapore’s diverse culinary industry is influenced by Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Indonesian traditions. Japanese, Korean, and Thai food are popular draws, too. These rich flavors are incomplete without the accompanying herbs and spices that give each dish its unique taste.
After all, could you ever eat a bland Laksa? We didn’t think so.
With more people cooking at home and avoiding crowded public spaces, there’s an opportunity to cater to a growing market of home chefs. You can sell herbs and spices online as part of a larger grocery store or concentrate on this niche alone.
The keyword ‘herbs’ has an average of 2,400 monthly searches.
Searches for spices are slightly higher at 3,600 / month.
Cooking at home is now a recreational activity, too, with people eager to test out new recipes and display their chops on social media. Your social media pages can incorporate an informational element to them, where you suggest new recipes and cuisines of the week. These recipes can tie back to your store, where your customers shop for the herbs and spices they need to complete them.
Cooking contests are another option where you reward your customers for making something new, posting it on social media, and tagging your page. This helps with virality, social proof, and is an organic way to improve brand affinity. You could also take it a step further by publishing recipes on YouTube, showing the optimum way to incorporate your store’s herbs and spices
The Time to Start is Now
We recommend that you do your research before you decide on what to sell online, but it’s equally important to get started by building a store. Product trends and research is one part of the equation; a successful ecommerce business also entails a cohesive marketing strategy, customer experience, and after sales service.
Simply put, you learn by doing. It won’t be perfect when you get started, but you will learn as you go along.
If you’re interested in hands-on training that walks you through the process of starting an online store around a profitable niche, be sure to watch our free webinar series. During the webinar, one of our team members will share how they grew one of their online business ideas to over 8,000 sales per year, along with the marketing tactics that worked (and the ones that flopped).
FAQ: Finding trending products
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Let us know what products you plan on selling on your store in the comments. Happy selling!
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Illustration by Albert Tercero