The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on businesses of all types. Ecommerce businesses, Amazon sellers, and entrepreneurs have been as affected as any other segment of society. There’s a tangible effect on the financial operations of companies, and the ability of individual sellers to maintain the lifestyles they have painstakingly built.
Amazon sellers are a resilient bunch, however. You don’t back down easily and take losses as learning opportunities. You accept challenges as an opportunity for creative solutions.
Along these lines, it’s a worthwhile exercise to put COVID-19 in perspective. Not only in terms of the short-term and long-term selling opportunities it presents but the new product and industry segments that could surface as we recover and get back to some semblance of normal.
Let’s take a look first at some potentially low-hanging fruit.
Short-Term Selling Opportunities – Individual Products
As our world has shifted the past few months to being indoors, some products have seen massive increases in sales volume. There are some which we’re all aware of like toilet paper, paper towels, eggs, and flour. These were somewhat predictable. People gravitate to staples when uncertainty about a situation sets in.
Some are a little less predictable and provide some signals to consider when adding products to your mix in the short-term. Given how fluid this situation is, this type of analysis should be a regular part of your business workflows.
The website Visual Capitalist recently published an interesting study on how individual products performed in March 2020 versus March 2019.
As an example, these items have exploded in growth as a percentage year-over-year (non-country specific):
- Disposable gloves – up 670%
- Bread machines – up 652%
- Weights – up 307%
- Vitamins – up 166%
These products are outliers to some extent but speak to broader trends. People in different countries are feeling the impact of the virus differently. Some are searching for comfort through food. Others are looking for distractions from the cabin fever staying indoors is causing all of us. Others yet are trying desperately to keep in shape without access to their favorite trails or gyms.
These country-specific trends from another recent study are also worth considering:
United States – Grocery & Gourmet Food Items searches are up 26%.
- Searches about meat & seafood products are up 173%.
Germany – Toys & Games searches are up 36%.
- Searches about Table Tennis are up 209%.
Italy – Sports & Outdoors searches are up 236%!
- Searches about Fitness & Gym Products are up 347%!
These are just a few examples but interesting to consider. If you predominantly sell to the US market, think about luxury as it relates to food. Maybe you can’t ship steaks or lobster, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sell luxury.
What are some luxury or gourmet items to add to the mix that will make people miss dining out a little less? Why do people want gourmet meals? What is the underlying attitude or need there? What other types of products could satisfy that need?
If you sell in the European market – specifically in Germany and Italy – adding items which will help people stay fit and avoid boredom could be worthwhile. It looks like learning about table tennis products could be worth it! Think of the relatively inexpensive items you could sell in that segment (other than the tables, obviously).
People are searching for all things weights and home gym as well. You might encounter a little more competition there, but the fight could be worth fighting.
These are just a few suggestions. Think about why these products are selling well and how COVID-19 has caused those trends. Get creative and search for products that fit this mold.
You could easily find your next diamond-in-the-rough.
Long-Term Selling Opportunities – Categories to Consider
It’s also important to consider what product categories will bounce back or see a resurgence as the economy starts to recover from the damage done by COVID-19. The travel, recreation, sports, and clothing categories have taken a substantial collective hit recently.
This drop in demand makes sense as people:
- Can’t travel as often as they’d like.
- Aren’t able to play their favorite sports or engage in their favorite leisure activities with groups.
- Don’t have the ability to watch or play any games for the same reasons.
- Aren’t looking ahead to buying clothes for the upcoming summer season – especially swimwear – because most of us are lounging around in sweatpants and shorts anyhow.
Will this last forever? Of course not. Sellers who think ahead now and start to plan for the future will be ahead when the time comes.
As restrictions start to loosen about people’s movement and social distancing becomes less necessary, these product categories will bounce back at different speeds.
It’s worth it now to start watching selling trends around these categories. Do items like luggage, sports equipment, swimsuits, camera bags, and the like continue to struggle? Do they slowly start to tick back up?
As they do, that’s the time to pounce and ride the wave back to the middle for these struggling product categories.
Creativity is Key Post-Recovery
Some of the most influential companies of the 21st century emerged after the economic disaster that was the 2008 Great Recession. All signs point to the notion that we’ll experience something similar post-COVID.
It’s going to take a wellspring of creativity and ingenuity to meet the recovery head-on and flourish. Amazon sellers who follow trends closely as things start to turn the corner and capitalize on the trends they see will be the new most influential brands of the 2020s.
Kris Hughes is the Senior Content Creator for Austin-based product innovation platform, Gembah. Gembah helps entrepreneurs, small businesses, and Amazon sellers navigate the product creation process with confidence.