Global ecommerce sales during the 2018 holiday shopping season reached $126 billion, a number that is expected to rise by at least 15% this year. It’s difficult to properly compute a figure so large, but for ecommerce sellers it means just one thing—anyone who’s serious about building their business online needs to start their holiday preparations early.
That means doing your store’s technical checkup, creating email marketing campaigns, planning your social media calendar… For all those preparations to matter you also need to fill your catalog with products that make your target audience click “Buy” when looking for Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals or holiday gifts.
In this article we’ll help you spruce up your product catalog by going over the top trending products to sell online during the peak season. With our help, you’ll be able to decide which products to offer to your niche audience this year, and pick up some design tips to turn a simple product into a seasonal best-seller.
And as our own holiday season gift to you, our skilled graphic design team has prepared ready-to-use direct-to-garment (DTG), all-over print, and embroidery designs you can download at the end of this article. So let’s get started!
Something about a steaming mug of hot chocolate (preferably with marshmallows) just puts people in a happy mood. That’s why mugs are the perfect product to sell during the holiday season when everyone’s looking for items that make their living and working spaces cozier. It doesn’t hurt that mugs are also one of the fall-back gift options when people are stumped about what to give.
The spike in searches for mugs each December shows that this category has great potential for a wide selection of audiences. That’s only true if you keep in mind that finding the right product is only the first step towards success. Creating unforgettable designs for your target audience comes as the next, equally important step.
The better the niche, the bigger the sales. For example, considering my theatre obsession I’m more likely to buy a mug with a design specifically made for theatre enthusiasts (“I randomly break out in showtunes”) than a generic “I <3 coffee” mug. So work out your niche and go from there.
Hoodies and sweatshirts
Holiday season fashion is all about finding the clothing equivalent of a warm hug—hoodies and sweatshirts. Visions of snowy cabins and frozen lakes will be filling everyone’s imagination and Facebook feed, so your store needs to provide customers with clothing that fits in with the Winter Wonderland imagery.
This day comes with office parties and other festivities that require people donning their gay apparel. Google Trends show that people start looking for what to wear on this peculiar day as early as September.
You can’t go wrong with designing ugly sweaters and hoodies because anything goes—the crazier, the better. Create a simple, no-hassle version by using front or back prints on a DTG hoodie, or go all out with an all-over print sweatshirt that gives you limitless options for out-of-this-world designs.
A picture says a thousand words. But what if that picture is 24×36”, framed in a sleek frame, and mounted on a wall? Surely, that must be worth at least half a million words. The design possibilities make wall art one of the best-selling products of the holiday season.
If you’re looking for a conceptual idea for your store, remember that people are always looking for personalized gifts, so think about completely custom-made products you can offer. Is it a caricature your customers can order based on their picture? A detailed map of their favorite city? Use your imagination to find something that combines your skills and your customers’ needs.
The fact that jewelry is on this list is no surprise. It’s the third most-wanted Christmas gift, with 55% of women claiming they want to receive jewelry during the holiday season. To paraphrase Love Actually—people want something they want, not something they need, and jewelry definitely falls into the latter category.
Making jewelry at home allows you to experiment with materials, combinations, and colors. But if you don’t want to spend the peak season frantically stringing pearls and shipping out orders, there are other options as well. You can prepare the items in advance and fulfill the orders through a warehousing service. Or you can drop ship custom-engraved jewelry on demand.
The best part about introducing jewelry to your store is that with the right designs and target audience, it’ll stay on your product list long after the holidays are over. So pick up some tips on how to sell jewelry online to get the best out of this product category.
T-shirts aren’t the first thing that pops into mind when thinking about winter holidays, but let’s not forget that not everyone needs to wrap up in 10 scarves and put on a ski mask in order to survive a particularly bad cold spell. Think about the people who spend the season living it up with pool parties and BBQs.
For example, if most of your customers are based in California, instead of selling ugly Christmas sweaters, consider creating a line of holiday t-shirts. This way your customers will feel like you’re part of their community because you know what they need, making them more loyal to your brand.
Besides, with t-shirts being a wardrobe staple, your custom tees won’t just get noticed by people who live in warmer climates. T-shirts form the foundation of fashion trends like athleisure and streetwear, which are primarily based on comfy clothing and layering. So give your customers the option to layer a Santa-red hoodie over a t-shirt that says “The present has arrived”.
Santa’s bag of choice is basically a red potato sack, but your customers are likely to choose a more fashion-forward option for their belongings. And this is where backpacks, fanny packs, and tote bags come into play, especially for customers who prefer a practical and lasting gift.
Backpacks are more expensive than your average t-shirt, so your designs should reflect the high-end feel of the product—think beautiful patterns in evergreen colors. Putting an expensive price tag on a product can seem a little daunting at first, but with the right selling strategy you’re bound to find your target audience.
Selling strategy also matters when it comes to fanny packs. Generally considered a summer product, these babies should be in your product catalog during winter as well—people use them for skiing trips. And if your customers are lucky enough to have their New Year’s parties somewhere warm, fanny packs serve to keep their belongings close on the dance floor.
Tote bags are a more affordable bag option, and they’re easy to design—a minimalistic copyright-free quote, an emoji, or an amusing pun work very well. For example, you can offer motivational quote totes and add that something extra to your store by making business book suggestions to go with each tote.
There’s not a lot you can do about your phone dying when the temperature drops below freezing, but you can certainly keep your ears warm. Customers search for fashionable headwear to add to their fall and winter outfits already in August and September, so start offering embroidered beanies early in the season to get the proverbial worm.
In the age of fast fashion, embroidered designs with their personal, tactile vibe represent a slower, personal attitude towards clothing. So capitalize on the embroidery trend by designing a collection of beanies (and perhaps even baseball caps for people in warmer climates).
It’s no surprise that possibly the most comfortable piece of clothing ever invented is trending during the holiday season. The search volume for leggings gradually starts building in September and peaks in November and December.
Leggings belong to sportswear and athleisure categories, so you can target both hardcore sports enthusiasts and dedicated couch potatoes. But don’t try to shoot two birds with one stone—specify in your product descriptions what your leggings are meant for. This way you won’t confuse your potential target audience and will set the right expectations.
In the 2019 fall/winter season, stand-out colors include chili pepper, peach pink, dark cheddar, galaxy blue, and others.
When Black Friday & Cyber Monday rolls around, home & living products see a spike in orders with people buying everything from bread makers to Christmas stocking holders. And the biggest sales season of the year allows you to explore your options in this category by adding experimental products.
“Experimental” doesn’t mean you should do it blindly—there’s a lot of data out there you can rely on. For example, Google Trends show that bean bags experience a significant rise in searches during the holiday shopping season.
Create limited edition bean bag chairs to test the waters. With the print-on-demand drop shipping model, you won’t have to invest financial resources, and you’ll be able to see how your audience reacts to the new addition. If your experiment works out, bean bags might become a permanent feature of your product catalog.
Last but not least, the age group that’s most excited about the holiday season is babies. And that makes their parents and relatives dedicated to finding a unique gift. Toys and games are a surefire way to get to a child’s heart, but give your customers an option for a more practical gift.
Babies themselves are less likely to get stoked about a new custom onesie. So while your product designs can be baby-oriented, your marketing campaigns need to target the parents and their friends.
Now that you know which products sell the best during the holiday season, start prepping your designs and get your store ready with a strategically curated selection of items that work for your store and your brand. This means keeping your target audience in mind at all times (or defining your target audience ASAP if you haven’t already).
For some design inspiration, download our DTG, embroidery, and all-over print graphics made especially for this fall/winter season.
And let us know in the comments which products you’re now inspired to add to your store!