How to Find Trending Products to Dropship and Sell Online in 2021


By Monday June 7

You want to find the next big trending product that’s going to take the world by storm and make you millions of dollars.

You’re not the only one.

Every serious online seller is searching for the next hot product trend, but only a handful will ever be “lucky” enough to strike gold.

But what if luck has nothing (or very little) to do with it? 

What if there were ways to accurately predict product trends before they peak so you can ride the wave of popularity?

You probably know how it feels to see eCommerce trends rise and fall before you get a chance to capitalize on them.

I’m going to share proven strategies for identifying trends so you don’t have to watch from the sidelines ever again.

By knowing exactly what to look for and how to take action quickly, you can stay a step ahead of the competition and make big money from selling trending products.



A trending product is a product that has some hype around it.

It’s a product that experiences a sudden, gradual, or seasonal spike in interest and demand, leading to increased sales.

It’s a product that’s “trendy”, cool, and popular. 

A trending product can emerge for several reasons.

Say Lebron James is seen wearing a new type of sweatband during an NBA game. 

It’s highly likely that demand for that type of sweatband will increase dramatically. 

The product will start trending.

Lifestyle and cultural changes can also spark product trends. 

For example, millions of people around the world started working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

This resulted in an unprecedented demand for things like home workout gear, home office equipment, and cooking appliances and utensils.

Trends can also develop gradually as people’s attitudes and beliefs change.

For example, consumers have become more conscious of environmental issues, which has led to sky-high demand for eco-friendly products.

We all saw the massive wave of reusable straws, beeswax wraps, and bamboo toothbrushes over the last few years, right? 

These trends seem obvious in hindsight, but I’m going to show you how to predict trends before it’s too late to benefit from them.

Trending products tend to fall into three categories: Fad, trend, or growing market.

They are defined by the potential longevity of the product, meaning how long it will remain a trend. 

FADS: SHORT-TERM TRENDS 

Product fads are products that are extremely popular for a short amount of time and die off quickly.

Fidget spinners are a textbook example of a fad. While they had been around for several years, they experienced a sudden explosion in popularity in early 2017.

During that time, fidget spinners were everywhere. It’s estimated close to 20 million were sold in the first half of 2017.

Today, fidget spinners are almost nowhere to be found. The fad lasted less than a year.

You can see what the fidget spinner fad looked like on Google Trends here.

PROS AND CONS OF FAD PRODUCTS

Fad products are good if you can identify them and take action quickly. 

Some people would have made a killing from fidget spinners, but most would have been left with a surplus of stock that they can’t sell.

Fads are high risk and high reward, rapid-growth, short-term, and highly unpredictable. 

They are best-suited to highly agile business models, such as dropshipping, where you can contact a supplier and start selling immediately.

If you need to manufacture a product in order to capitalize on a fad, you may find yourself a few steps behind the competition. 

Fads reward the fast, so stay on your toes and be ready to pounce.

TRENDS: MID-LONG-TERM TRENDS 

A typical product trend has some longevity or at least the potential for a longer lifespan than a fad.

Unlike a fad, a trend is usually more gradual and subtle, often growing and developing over several years.

However, the earlier you can spot a trending product, the better.

Men’s slim-fit jeans are a good example of how a trend develops.

Slim-fit or skinny jeans started out as an alternative trend in the music scene around 2008. 

Most men were still wearing baggy jeans at that time.

However, slim-fit jeans slowly became mainstream and, today, almost all men (maybe even your dad or grandad) feel comfortable wearing them.

This is how you’d expect a trending product to look on Google Trends — consistently strong and steadily increasing interest and demand over several years.

Slim-fit jeans could have been an alternative fad, but they turned out to be a mainstream trend that’s lasted more than a decade.

Product trends are often linked to celebrity or influencer culture. If Kendall Jenner is seen using a particular beauty product on Instagram, it could kick off a product trend that lasts a few days, weeks, months or years.

The same goes for if Joe Rogan promotes a product he loves on his podcast that’s listened to by millions of people.

Product trends can also emerge from trending products. Every time Apple releases a new iPhone, it sets off a wave of new accessories that make a lot of businesses a lot of money.

PROS AND CONS OF TRENDS

Trending products tend to emerge gradually, stick around for a few years, and fade slowly.

That means you have more time to take advantage of them in your online store.

To continue with the surfing analogy, trends are waves you can see forming in the distance and when you catch them at the right time, you can ride them all the way to shore.

However, that means all online sellers have more time to identify and ride the trend, so it’s still important to act quickly.

The downside of selling a genuine trending product is that you’ll be facing more competition, often from big-name brands.

Therefore, you’ll need to find ways to differentiate your product from the rest, whether that’s through product design or marketing.

The upside is if you can establish a foothold in a trending niche, you’ll put yourself in a position to reap the rewards long-term.

Selling just one trending product at the exact right moment has the potential to change your entire life and set you up for early retirement.

Just ask entrepreneur Gretta van Riel who made millions selling fashionable water bottles online by catching a rising trend.

SEASONAL TRENDS: UPS AND DOWNS

Seasonal trends are recurring trends that come and go in a short space of time.

Halloween masks are a great example of a seasonal trend. A store that sells Halloween masks might not sell much 90% of the year, but it makes all its sales in just a few weeks in October each year.

A seasonal product should look like a series of peaks and valleys on Google Trends.

The same goes for products such as Christmas decorations, swimming pool toys and accessories, calendars and journals, scarves, slippers, and snuggle blankets.

PROS AND CONS OF SEASONAL TRENDS

The downside of seasonal trends is that most of your income — and most of your work — comes in a short space of time.

The upside is that that seasonal income can be significant. 

If you’re a leading online seller of Christmas lights, you’re going to have a huge month of sales in December and you might be able to take the rest of the year off.

However, you’ll be competing with a bunch of big-name brands and big-box stores, so success isn’t guaranteed.

Despite that, you can be confident that Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Summer and Winter are never going out of fashion.

So if you get the product right, you’ll always have customers ready to buy.

I’m guessing the main reason you’re here is to learn where and how to find trending products to sell online.

Maybe you’re getting started with dropshipping and you want to increase your chances of choosing a winning product.

Perhaps you’re running an online store and you’re looking for the next big thing to boost your sales and profits.

Or maybe you’re wanting to get into selling on a major marketplace like Amazon, eBay or Etsy and you want to set yourself apart from the competition.

Wherever you’re at on your eCommerce journey, you can use the methods and resources below to find, identify, and choose trending products with confidence.

There are many resources available to online sellers that do the heavy lifting of finding trending products for you.

I recommend starting your search by using one of the platforms below.

It’s a great way to start compiling a list of ideas that you can narrow down later (more on that below).

1. SaleHoo

SaleHoo is built to help online sellers find trending products and reliable suppliers.

It has specific tools for general online sellers and dropshippers.

The thing that sets SaleHoo apart is that it removes the guesswork of choosing a trending product.

SaleHoo tracks more than 1.6 million products that are being sold online to determine exactly how much potential they have.

In SaleHoo’s market research lab, you can filter products based on their sell rate, average sale price, and level of competition. 

The data comes from Amazon and eBay, so it’s a really good measure of what’s trending right now.

If you’re dropshipping, SaleHoo Dropship serves up only the hottest products on AliExpress so you don’t have to spend hours searching the website yourself.

Once you’ve decided on a product to sell, you can add them directly to your Shopify store from the SaleHoo Dropship dashboard.

SaleHoo is like having your very own personal assistant that serves up trending products for you every day, based on real-time data.

2. Exploding Topics 

Exploding Topics is a goldmine for product trends.

It uses algorithms to analyze millions of searches, conversations and mentions across the internet to identify trends, often months or years before they take off.

Many top companies use it to stay ahead of the curve.

You can use it to identify product trends before the competition. 

3. Trendhunter 

Trendhunter is a powerful trend platform that shares ideas and insights across a wide range of industries.

It uses big data, artificial intelligence and human researchers to identify consumer insights.

The website features top 20 daily, weekly and monthly trends, which often include products.

Even if you don’t find a trending product you want to sell on Trendhunter, it will help you to think outside the box.

4. Amazon Bestsellers

Amazon Bestsellers is a treasure trove of real-time trending products.

You can see the bestselling products on Amazon across all categories and subcategories.

These are products that are already trending, rather than trend predictions.

But if you can find a similar product or complementary product to an Amazon bestseller, you might be onto a winner.

5. Thieve 

Thieve is a lesser-known resource for trending products.

It’s essentially a collection of AliExpress products curated by creatives.

That means the products are not only popular, but also aesthetically appealing, which is helpful for grabbing people’s attention online.

Thieve gives you the option of filtering products based on which ones are trending.

Every time I check Thieve I find something that I want to buy myself, which is a good sign that it could be worth selling.

6. Social media influencers 

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Social media influencers and celebrities are the trendsetters of the digital age.

It’s a good idea to follow influencers in your niche on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok so you can keep track of the products they’re promoting.

A lot of brands are using influencers to launch and promote new products.

If you can spot these products early, you may be able to jump on a trend before everyone else catches on.

7. Kickstarter 

Kickstarter is a platform where aspiring entrepreneurs seek crowdfunding for their product ideas.

From the homepage, you can click on ‘Discover’ and then ‘Trending’ to see the projects that are getting the most attention.

There are many examples of fast-acting entrepreneurs beating Kickstarter projects to market.

While that’s not necessarily the most ethical approach to business (each to their own), keeping tabs on Kickstarter may help you to identify emerging trends.

That could give you ideas for products to sell, based on what consumers are showing interest in.

8. Facebook Ads

This little hack for finding trending products is especially useful for dropshippers.

Type, “free worldwide shipping” or “free shipping worldwide” into the Facebook search bar. 

Filter the search results by ‘Videos’ and ‘Most Recent’. 

This will show you video ads for dropshipping products. You can get an idea for which products are trending based on the engagement — likes, views, comments — each video has.

In the image above, you’ll see that a video for a “Premium UV nail lamp” which is used for drying nails quickly after painting them has had 30,000 views in just a few days.

Bear in mind, the level of engagement will depend on how much the seller has spent on Facebook advertising. 

9. Online marketplaces (AliExpress, eBay, Etsy)

Most online marketplaces have a ‘trending’ or ‘bestselling’ section.

The more you check these pages, the better you’ll be able to identify trends as they’re emerging. 

Here are the trending products pages for:

You should bookmark these pages and check them regularly. 

10. Think with Google 

Think with Google is a helpful tool that provides insights and ideas based on the huge amounts of data Google collects.

Of particular interest is the ‘Rising Retail Categories’ section.

Here you can see trending products and categories based on data from different countries. 

You can also subscribe and get rising trends emails to you every week.

11. IRL (In Real Life)

One of the best ways to spot trends is by being curious and observant in everyday life.

Pay attention to what people are using and wearing at college and university, on the train, or in the street.

These are often the first place trending products will show up. 

The first time I saw LED dog collars wasn’t in a Facebook ad or on Amazon, it was on the street as an elderly woman walked her labradoodle at night.

Six months later, they were a global trending product.

Stay sharp and you’ll observe potential trends everywhere.

The tools and resources listed above should provide you with an endless list of ideas for trending products you can sell online.

But you need a way to reduce that list down to one or two trending products that you’re actually going to sell. 

The best way to do that is with reliable data, and the biggest free database available to online sellers, like you, is Google Trends.

SaleHoo is working on a tool that will allow you to quickly identify trending products using Trends data, which will be available very soon (watch this space!). 

Until then, here’s how to use Google Trends to validate your trending products.

1. Narrow down your ideas

You should start with a list of 30-40 product ideas from all of the tools and resources listed above.

Then you need to narrow them down to the 10-15 best ideas. 

This part of the process is subjective. But you should consider things like:

  • Are you personally excited about the product?
  • Can you visualize the online store and marketing for the product?
  • Does it have an emotional impact or practical value?
  • Is it an ‘impulse buy’, meaning people won’t think twice about purchasing it?

Once you have no more than 15 trending product ideas, proceed to the next step.

2. Check products on Google Trends  

Next, you want to run all of your trending product ideas through Google Trends.

Google Trends analyzes the popularity of top search queries in Google Search over time.

Start by typing in your product idea. In this example, I’m going to use air fryers. 

When I caught up with a group of friends recently, all of them were talking about how amazing air fryers are so I want to see what all the fuss is about.

Google Trends will show you the ‘search interest’ for air fryers.

What is ‘search interest’?

Search interest represents the amount of interest in a search term relative to the highest point for a given time.

Google Trends uses a complex equation to determine the popularity of a search term, based on the location and time range you’ve selected. 

The resulting numbers are scaled on a range of 0 to 100. 

While you can see the general trend by simply looking at the graph, the search interest gives you more detailed insight.

The default time period is ‘12 months’ but I like to change it to ‘5 years’ to see how the search term has been trending long-term.

The default location is your home country, but you should change it to the country where most of your customers are.

For air fryers, most of the interest is coming from West Virginia and South Dakota.

You can also see ‘Related queries’. For example, “instant air fryer” seems to be a popular search term. 

When you click ‘Breakout’ you’ll see “instant air fryer” has experienced more explosive growth.

This might cause you to change your product idea. At the very least, it will help with your marketing and store search engine optimization (SEO).

3. Analyze Google Trends data

You should now have a clear idea about which of your product ideas are genuinely trending and which aren’t. 

If the search interest in Google Trends is declining, it’s a good sign that the trend is on the way out.

If it seems to be climbing (like the air fryer) it’s a good indication that the product is trending.

Remember, ups and downs could indicate seasonal trends or Christmas shopping.

You want to look at the overall trend.

Hopefully, Google Trends provides you with 3-5 frontrunners that make it to the next stage of your trending product selection process.

Once you’ve reached this point, you could probably run with any of the products you’ve selected.

However, this checklist will help you to make the best decision. 

The trending product checklist 

  • Competition: Is the product or market highly competitive or saturated? You can check websites like Amazon to see how many others are selling the same product. Also, do a basic Google search to see how successful the competitors are. You can use SaleHoo Labs to check competition levels. Trending products will always attract competition, but you want to keep it to a minimum if possible.

  • Point of difference: If there’s some competition in the market (and there probably will be with a trending product), does your product have a point of difference? Is it a new version, a different design or colour, targeted at a specific niche? If there’s a way to set your product apart from the pack, you’ll have a much better chance of success.

  • Profit margins: Which of your product ideas has the highest profit potential? Find out how much you can source the product for from a supplier and then see how much similar products are selling for online. Don’t forget to factor in packaging, shipping and marketing costs. If in doubt, choose the product that’s likely to make you the most money.

  • Longevity: Does the product have long-term potential? Or does it feel like a chance to make fast money and get out? Are there opportunities for the product or category to grow, or to expand your product range or variations over time? If possible, go with the long-term option. If the product is trending, you want to ride that trend for as long as possible.

  • Product specifications: You should consider the size, weight, and durability of the product. If it needs to be shipped between countries or across states, it’s best to choose a product that’s relatively compact (fits into a shoebox), lightweight and durable. You don’t want shipping costs to be prohibitive and you don’t want it breaking en route.

  • Recurring revenue: Is it possible to sell the product to the same customer multiple times? For example, people need to buy new shaving blades once a month. Or they might buy socks twice a year. However, a customer might only buy one or two air fryers in their lifetime. Bear in mind, products with recurring revenue potential will likely have lower profit margins. But it is easier to sell to customers who’ve already bought from you.

  • Regulated products: If the product you’re thinking of selling is regulated by the FDA or any other government agency, it might not be worth the trouble. Some regulated or restricted products require you to have permission or specific documentation in order to sell them online. Regulated products in the United States include human food, medicines, cosmetics and medical devices (see the full list here).

Yes, it’s important to consider where you’ll be selling your products. If you’re selling on a popular marketplace like Amazon or Etsy, you’ll be competing directly with other sellers. And if the product is trending, there’s likely to be plenty of competition. This makes it more important to catch the trend at the beginning. The upside of selling trending products on big marketplaces is that you have direct access to their customers and don’t have to do as much work to attract your own traffic and leads.

If you’re setting up your own online store using a platform like Shopify, it’s easier to set yourself apart from other sellers. You’ll still face competition, but you can differentiate your product and brand through the way you design your website and position yourself in the market. If you don’t catch a product trend at the beginning, I recommend taking this approach.

You need to do some market research. You can start by looking at how much similar products are selling for online, including Amazon, big name brands, and individual online stores. Then you need to reach out to suppliers to see what price you can source the product for. If you’re able to buy in bulk you’ll get better deals. You should be looking for products that can sell for 100% markup (eg. If you can source the product for $20 you should be able to sell it for at least $40). If the product is trending and the profit margin is good, then you can have confidence that it’s profitable. 

Again, it requires research. Search for the product on Amazon and see how many other sellers are selling it. Then do a Google search and see how many other stores you’ll be competing with. You can use a tool like SaleHoo Labs to get accurate data on the level of competition for a given product. But you can also do it yourself.

That’s awesome! If you want to set up a store using Shopify, make sure to check out our free guide here. If you want to learn how to build, launch and scale your Shopify store from a seven-figure seller, check out our Dropshipping on Shopify course.

If you have any questions about how to find trending products, please comment below and I’ll make sure that you get the help you need.

 

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