This article is part of a larger series on Retail Management.
Etsy is an online marketplace where merchants can sell handmade, vintage, or craft supply items. With affordable listing and transaction fees, minimal startup costs, and instant access to over 96 million active buyers, it’s a great place to expand or even start a retail business. Merchant profits skyrocketed in 2021, growing from just shy of $5 billion in 2019 to a collective $13.5 billion in 2021.
Successfully selling on Etsy comes down to choosing products that are unique, profitable, and in demand. People come to Etsy to find customized items, vintage finds, and one-of-a-kind products made or curated with a human touch. These qualities make Etsy stand out compared to Shopify or Amazon.
Consider the following ideas for the best items to sell on Etsy:
Not only are stickers in demand, but they’re also relatively easy in terms of logistics. Stickers are small, lightweight, and easy to ship, and they’re always going to be in demand. Competition may be fierce, but if you come up with unique designs that resonate with potential customers, you can make a decent income selling stickers on your Etsy storefront. It’s a perfect product to complement different product types.
In fact, one of Etsy’s top sellers does exactly that—Acorn & Crow Studio sells stickers as part of its product line. It also offers keychains, pins, and other small items with “sarcastic witchy vibes” designs.
Like stickers, jewelry can be small and easy to ship—not to mention it’s a popular item for shoppers, and as fashion trends come and go, there’s practically limitless demand. Plus, “summer jewelry” was the most popular search term on Etsy in July 2022 (“earrings” and “rings” also make the list), and the platform’s top two sellers specialize in jewelry.
There are many different ways you can sell your jewelry. You can design minimalist jewelry, jump on trends, craft customized or personalized pieces, offer vintage finds, and more. The costume jewelry market, for example, is forecast to hit nearly $60 billion in the next few years.
Etsy is an ideal marketplace for other accessories, which is the fifth most popular handmade product category. As such, there are so many kinds of accessories you can buy or make to sell on Etsy. Some ideas include socks, false eyelashes, handbags, belt buckles, wallets, and even phone cases. Tote bags, for example, do well on the platform—they were No. 16 on July 2022’s list of top-searched terms.
Truly, the possibilities are endless. Selling accessories on Etsy is a flexible business idea that you can grow, expand, and scale as you wish.
4. Digital Products & Downloads
Digital products and downloads are excellent items to sell on Etsy. For one, there are no shipping fees, and customers instantly receive the item digitally. Plus, you don’t have to store any physical inventory since everything is online.
Beyond the logistics, digital products are hugely popular in the marketplace. “Digital planner” is a top searched term, and the No. 4 top seller offers digital SVG files for sale—check them out at Heather Roberts Art.
When it comes to digital products, there are so many possibilities. Some ideas to help you get started include:
- Designs, graphics, or illustrations
- Phone and computer backgrounds
- 3D printing
- Business cards
5. Party Supplies
Many shoppers turn to Etsy when they need party supplies. These include invitations and favors and everything in between—decorations, activities or games, playlists, baking and cake decorations, T-shirts, and accessories. In fact, another top seller on Etsy is ModParty, a complete bridesmaid supply-themed Etsy storefront, and “bridesmaid gifts” is a top search term.
When it comes to selling your own party supplies on Etsy, you can niche down by the type of product you provide or the theme you provide supplies for. For example, weddings and wedding-related events like bridal showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties. You can also niche into children’s parties, business events, or any other type of party of your choosing.
6. Home Goods
“Home & living” is the biggest category of handmade items on Etsy, representing 25% of merchants. Many shoppers come to the platform looking for something special to spruce up their homes.
Check out some of the most-searched terms on Etsy that relate to home goods to get some ideas:
- Wall art
- Mid-century modern
- Wall decor
You can also sell dining and kitchen items—the tableware market is projected to hit $54.1 billion by 2027, and the kitchen utensils market is growing 4.25% every year. The early days of the COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of people to cook and eat at home more, and we’re likely still seeing some of the effects from that.
When it comes to seasonal opportunities, you can focus on items for college dorm rooms in the summer months—and also outdoor furniture and items for the spring and summer seasons.
In a similar vein as home goods, art is a perfect category to consider for your Etsy shop. In fact, you can use art to create some of the items already mentioned on this list: stickers, tote bags, jewelry, and digital downloads, for example.
“Art & collectibles” is actually the second most popular handmade good for sale on the marketplace.
If you’re an artist, you can create custom designs to sell on your Etsy store. Not an artist? You can source vintage finds from your local thrift shop, garage sales, and online peer-to-peer channels like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist to then resell to your Etsy customers.
8. Collectible Items
We already know “art & collectibles” is a top-selling product category for Etsy. So, what does this mean? This means you might sell sought-after vintage collectible items (e.g., brass does extremely well in terms of vintage finds) or collectibles based on a theme (e.g., baseball cards and vinyl records).
If you have access to a steady stream of collectible-worthy items, Etsy is a great place to offload them in exchange for a profit. Local thrift stores and garage sales are great places to source these types of products.
Apparel is a great item to sell online because there’s a constant demand. However, there’s also a ton of competition. So, when selling apparel on Etsy, it’s best to choose a specific niche or ensure your items are carefully handmade. Etsy is, after all, a marketplace for makers, so handmade goods reign supreme here. In fact, 85% of Etsy merchants sell handmade items.
The best thing about selling clothing is that you can take your business in any direction. Maybe you want to be completely hands-off and go the print-on-demand route. Or, perhaps you have design skills and are capable of handcrafting your own one-of-a-kind pieces. Personalized apparel is also a great fit for Etsy. If you can think of it, you can probably sell it on Etsy.
Ready to start a clothing business? Learn more in our guide to starting a clothing line.
10. Pet Products
People love their pets, and many consider them family members. As such, there’s no shortage of shoppers willing to spend money on their furry loved ones. American consumers spent $123.6 billion on pets in 2021 alone. In fact, the pet carrier market alone is predicted to hit $851.5 million by 2028, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.95%.
When it comes to selling pet products on Etsy, you could offer any of the following:
- Accessories, such as carriers, leashes, collars, tags, and bows
- Pet food and treats
- Personalized pet products featuring images or art of people’s pets
- Training or pet sitting checklists
- Grooming items, such as brushes, combs, and nail clippers
Considering growing your online store, joining a marketplace, or signing up for a content creation platform? You might be interested in our recommendations for Etsy alternatives.
Etsy is a great way to put your products in front of an existing audience of ready-to-buy consumers. It’s more specific than Amazon’s broad marketplace, so you’re catering to a more predictable customer base. Whether you want to launch your business on Etsy or grow an existing business as part of your retail marketing strategy, these bestselling items on Etsy are certainly great places to start.
To be successful, you’ll need to sell in-demand goods that are unique to what other sellers have to offer—at a competitive price point that doesn’t sacrifice profits.