Market research is not only a great way to see what the competition is currently selling on Etsy.com, but can also be a great way to start thinking about what it is that you want to sell for yourself!
Before any small business venture, market research is key – crucial even! You would be surprised by how many Etsy sellers who go into Etsy thinking that they have a great, unique idea and then realize just how big their competition pool is.
Not only can this be discouraging, but it can also make it harder to be noticed by customers on Etsy.com.
To prevent this, you should be doing market research, and we’re going to help you figure out the best way to go about it for your own business!
Table of Contents
How Do You Find the Most-Sold Items on Etsy?
Finding out what is the most sold item on Etsy is a great way to see what is currently a “trending” or “hot-ticket” item on the site.
This helps you decide if you want to try and pursue this category of products to sell. Knowing what customers are interested in is essential to making sure that your product is following that trend and will end up in hundreds of search results.
Alternatively, knowing what the bestselling items are on Etsy is great when you want to check out really successful stores. Even if it can be daunting to see a store with tens of thousands of sales, seeing what they’re doing “right” can help you try to achieve their level of success!
But how do you find the most-sold items on Etsy?
1. Doing Your Own Market Research
Whenever you click around on Etsy, there tends to be this “rabbit-hole” effect where you start by clicking on handmade bookmarks and end up looking at ornate, refurbished flapper dresses.
This is the beauty and the downfall of doing your own market research – but if you can focus and do it right, you’ll be glad you did!
One of the best ways to do market research is to click around on Etsy and filter your searches until you are finding shops with thousands of five-star reviews and sales.
Once you do, you can start to see what these bestselling stores are offering and how often they are getting sales from customers.
For example, Graphique is an Etsy shop that designs and sells digital art downloads for over 170,000 customers and counting!
Their style and unique taste have made them stand out as one of the most – if not THE most – popular digital art download shops on the whole site.
By checking out their business styles, the way that they take photos and describe their products and work with customers, you can try to emulate large, successful sites into your own shop’s business model to try and garner success!
2. CraftCount.com and Other Market Research Sites
If clicking around for hours on Etsy.com doesn’t sound fun to you, there are alternative ways to find the top-selling items and shops online.
Craftcount.com is not associated nor affiliated with Etsy.com; however, they do keep a great ranking record of the top 10, 50, or 100 Etsy shops in various categories and those that are the top 10 of all time.
By going to their site and filtering by category, you can see which sellers are the best in their category, whether that be clothing, dolls, needlecraft, jewelry, stamps, or any others!
For example, as of the time of this article, the top two selling stores in Etsy overall on Craftcount.com are PlannerKate1 and ModParty.
As the name suggests, PlannerKate1 sells planner designs, styles, and accessories to help you make your planner completely your own. With over 900,000 sales on Etsy since 2014, PlannerKate1 has been stealing the Etsy show one brightly-colored sicker at a time!
ModParty, on the other hand, has dipped their creative brush into the wedding industry, creating gifts for bridesmaids, wedding favors, and decorations! Since 2013 they have sold nearly 570,000 products to customers and are still going strong.
3. Why Use Market Research?
In only minutes I was able to see the top two selling stores on Etsy’s website and get an idea of what they are selling and how they are selling it.
Furthermore, using sites like Craftcount.com saves me time and effort, and also let me get an idea of what the truly successful competition is doing.
Finally, if I was unsure about what to sell online through Etsy.com, poking around Craftcount.com or Etsy’s categories gives me an idea of what is already out there, and what I can do differently!
What Data is Available About Etsy?
There is a lot of data out there about Etsy.com.
Whether that is the history of the site, how their stock (ETSY) is doing, or if you’re looking to market research like me, getting data online about Etsy is pretty easy.
However, if you’re hoping all that data is in one place, you will be disappointed.
Like any major industry, there is too much said on the topic of Etsy to quickly search “current Etsy market trends” into Google and hope to come up with something that will help you in your business.
Instead, sellers will often take to eRank.com, something we’ve covered before here on Techpenny.com.
eRank.com is similar to Craftcount.com in that it allows you to research the top-selling shops and items on Etsy currently.
Unlike Craftcount.com, however, eRank.com is a register-to-use service and requires a login to access.
This is widely considered in the Etsy community to be one of the more popular data sites and compilations online to try and “get it all in one place.”
As I’ve said, getting it all in one place is difficult, and sometimes impossible. Still, if you’re going to look for data on Etsy market trends, use sites like eRank.com!
5. Etsy Forums
Finding information about the latest trends can sometimes come from Etsy sellers themselves.
Staying on top of and participating in Etsy forums is a great way to hear what the buzz is all about in the Etsy community.
Now, while this data is much more subjective than factual, you get an idea of where Etsy sellers are looking for information and what products are getting a lot of attention.
Furthermore, staying in the forums is a great way to make sure you are hearing about any problems with the site, updates, scandals, or issues that stores might be having.
Good Questions to Ask Yourself When Finding the Right Product
Once you’ve made yourself familiar with research tools on Etsy or through third-party sites like eRank or Craftcount, you can begin to decide what kind of product you want to sell.
More specifically, you can get a better understanding of what has already been overdone online and how you can rework your product from being a “category” to a “niche.”
6. Categories and Search Results
What category does my product fit into?
Categories are specific collections of products and items that you can sell in your shop.
It is important to know what categories your products qualify for when you create product descriptions for your shop. This will lead customers to your products during search results and when they want a specific item that you might provide.
If you aren’t doing your best to figure out what categories you qualify in, you may miss out on a huge customer base that is filtering their searches for that category.
Furthermore, if you miscategorize your products, customers will assume you are doing it on purpose to show up in ALL search results.
This makes them less likely to buy from you.
7. Niche and Finding Your “Thing”
How can my product stand out from the crowd in my category?
Once you know where your product belongs, knowing how to work within and around your competition in that category is what makes you successful on Etsy.com.
For example, Graphique, as we mentioned before, is part of a HUGE category of sellers online, which is “digital art.”
To stand out from the crowd, Graphique has created a type of digital art that capitalizes on old-fashioned and literary inspiration.
Knowing how to create a specific “niche” for your product will help you figure out what the “right” product is for you.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What Are You Passionate About?
- What Do You Already Know About?
- What “Signature” Style can You Provide?
- What Would YOU Like to See on Etsy?
- How Can You Fill That Need?
Often, Etsy stores with top-selling items are usually unique in that they really reflect the creator and what they like.
7 Etsy Market Research Tools You Should Know
As we’ve mentioned before, there are a lot of places to look for Etsy data and how to estimate trends and the Etsy market online.
We’ve compiled the resources we’ve already discussed, as well as a few more here:
Free Tools & Places to Check Out
- Etsy Forums
- Etsy Blog Posts
- Interviews About Etsy or of Etsy Sellers
- Personal Research Clicking around Etsy Shops & Categories
- Twitter Trends & #Etsy
We did not want to include paid or for-sale products or apps here in our list, but there are paid sites and Chrome apps to use for your Etsy store to track market trends.
5 Products You Should Not Sell on Etsy (and Why!)
Rather than attempt to list everything on Etsy that flopped, we have created a few “categories” of our own that you should steer clear from if you’re going to be successful on Etsy.com!
While a lot of these are self-explanatory, the point is that following market trends means adapting to be like those successful shops, but not exactly like them.
Instead, having your own unique brand in a popular niche is a great way to get noticed and to make sales!
1. Really “Unique” Items…
There are a lot of strange things on Etsy.com.
From taxidermied animals to paintings of Adolf Hitler over the body of Disney’s Tinkerbell, some Etsy creators are just TOO unique.
Just because you’ve created a niche that no one else has ever attempted before does not mean that you will be making many sales.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to be different and make what inspires you! Just stick to making something that someone might actually want to buy.
2. Reproductions or Imitations
Being like the big and successful Etsy shops sometimes come with adapting to how they run things – and what they’re selling.
However, that doesn’t mean you should be making reproductions or imitations of what everyone else is doing. In fact, a lot of Etsy customers will surf Etsy for an hour or more before making a decision on what to buy.
Once they’ve looked at fifty of the same types of bookmarks, planners, or knitted hats, they’ll probably just turn to the shop with the highest star-rating and most sales to get their not-so-unique item.
Instead, follow the market trend in your category or niche and find a way to make it “yours.” Give it a passionate, personal flair, and don’t be afraid to really stamp yourself all over it creatively!
3. Plain-Jane Basics
Many customers love the ability to create their own custom versions of your product.
Whether that means engraving their names, getting their own uploaded photos or quotes put on an item, or even getting a commissioned painting of themselves, customers are looking to personalize their purchase.
For example, if you sell jewelry, try to create many different versions of the same product, or have the ability to customize or change the product to fit the customer’s needs!
If your items are plain, static, and unchanging, you may lose sales to more flexible sellers.
Furthermore, while “minimalism” is a great category on Etsy.com, even minimalists will add their own flair to their products for customer satisfaction.
4. Cheap or Toxic Materials & Paints
Being honest about what is in your products is crucial to making sales on Etsy.com.
Customers are more willing to trust transparent sellers who are upfront about what goes into each and every item they sell.
If your product is made of cheap yarn, toxic paint, or anything that might be worse than normal for the environment, you may not make any sales.
Consider instead to spend a little extra and invest in popular products or materials in your chosen category. If you’re an artist, research eco-friendly or strong paints that will last!
If you knit or sew, make sure your yarn is closer to wool than acrylic, or that your material is cotton and not polyester.
5. Breakable or Fake Jewelry
Just because you can’t afford to put diamonds in your products doesn’t mean your product is cheap.
If you like to make charm bracelets or beaded items, use beads or fake stones that aren’t going to break as soon as the customer opens the package. You’ll end up with bad reviews that will scare away new potential buyers.
In fact, many jewelers on Etsy.com have amazing products that are made from minimal materials and come out looking fantastic!
Metalworkers will use strong materials to make simple and beautiful rings for men and women without materials like diamonds, gemstones, or anything too expensive.