It is no secret that 2020 was a very different year. There were (depending on where you happened to live) quarantines, lockdowns, and restrictions on what services were available. This of course not only affected everyday lives but also the shopping habits of almost everyone.
With a much larger number of people either unable or unwilling to go to the store to buy what they wanted, it fell to the online retailers to take up the slack, and the two biggest platforms (and the various third-party sellers who list on them) sold products at a volume they were not expecting to achieve for years.
Even when ‘everything’ was being bought online, there were some serious standout products that topped the best sellers list. This is an indicator of what might continue to sell well as 2021 continues and society emerges into the ‘new normal’.
With that in mind, here are 20 of the biggest online sellers of 2020. They are in no particular order, as demand fluctuated over the course of the year. However, if your ambition for 2021 is to have a thriving eCommerce business, you could do far worse than start by looking at these products.
1. Wireless Phone Chargers
The release of the new iPhone did what it always does and move the goalposts for Apple’s competitors. One of the standout features of the new iPhone was wireless charging, so the number of wireless chargers for other brands sold extremely well.
This trend means that going into 2021, the demand will only increase, and the number of wireless chargers on the market will increase in turn. This will typically bring the price down to a more affordable level, which will increase sales even further.
2. Exercise Bands
As this list progresses, you will see the trend toward two main areas, tech (especially mobile) and self-care, including fitness products. With so many gyms closed across the country because of the crisis, sales of items that allowed you to work out at home went through the roof.
Toward the top of this list were exercise bands designed for you to get the most out of the many workouts that could be followed online over the course of 2020. Some people are definitely going to go back to the gym regularly as life begins to return to normal. However, an increasing number are being converted to working out at home due to the lower cost and the convenience.
3. Ring Lights
In 2020, TikTok exploded in a big way, So big in fact that Instagram had to introduce reels to stop so many of their users from jumping ship. The TikTok phenomenon is based on making several short videos a day, and this is made easier by a ring light on a tripod that also kept your phone steady while you kept up with the latest trends.
This isn’t going away any time soon, and with the commercial lure of Tik Tok growing exponentially, the sale of this product in its various forms will continue to rise.
4. Mandalorian Merchandise
Another big hit from people having to stay indoors is the rise in streaming subscriptions. Netflix has the lion’s share, but the relatively newly launched Disney+ service has seen massive gains in 2020. One of the star attractions has been the Star Wars live-action series The Mandalorian, whose 2nd season debuted in 2020.
The pull of new Star Wars content seems to unite fans for all the right reasons and the little green Yoda that appeared meant merchandise sold well, even by Star Wars standards. With new Mandalorian-related content scheduled for 2021 (as well as an increasing number of new subscribers), this demand looks to continue for the foreseeable future.
5. Donald Trump Merchandise
Another big feature of 2020 was the US election, and Trump merchandise was a bigger seller than products aimed at Biden supporters. The biggest sellers were the caps and all manner of Donald Trump t-shirts, especially in the run-up to November 3rd.
Although he is no longer President, the loyalty of his supporters points towards the continuing sales of everything related to Donald Trump as he is bound to remain in the news for all of 2021.
6. Peel Off Face Masks
This next one is all about self-care, and the fact that this face care product is no longer an entirely female-dominated market. The opportunity of self-care during long periods spent in the home has meant that men have also been enjoying the benefits of a bit of pampering time.
The de-stressing and calming effects of products such as these have caused a spike in sales that will not decrease entirely as 2021 progresses and as face masks follow in the footsteps of moisturizers and is becoming a more unisex product.
7. Sunrise Alarm Clock
It might not have seemed like it was worth getting out of bed for most of 2020, and when you did have something to get up for, you were rudely awakened by an awful buzzing noise. The idea of making it all much more bearable by replacing your regular alarm clock with a sunrise simulator caught on in 2020, and it looks like carrying over into 2021.
The sunrise alarm clock mimics the sun rising at dawn so you wake up more naturally, and accompanies this with gentle calming sounds, which is something we can all benefit from.
8. WiFi Range Extender
As the year progresses and the sun starts to shine, people are going to want to work or use a laptop or tablet in the garden. In 2020 a lot of people spending time at home found that their WiFi signal doesn’t quite go as far as the suntrap at the end of your backyard. This meant sales of WiFi extenders (or boosters) rose sharply.
This might be one that won’t roll over as effectively into 2021, but that will depend on how many people want to piggyback their WiFi signal and binge watch Netflix outside.
9. Motorized Treadmill
Getting back in the exercising at home groove, we have motorized treadmills. Sales of these have again grown due to the number of people unwilling to go out but still wanting to keep reasonably active.
The home versions are nowhere near as bulky or as noisy as their full-size gym equivalents and can often be folded away after use. They also have the added benefit of being able to binge-watch your favorite programs while you put in a 5k.
Demand for these will probably remain constant until the weather improves and people are more trusting in the safety of the outside world.
10. Robot Vacuum Cleaner
For a year when people went out less (and presumably had more time for housework), this one might come as a bit of a surprise. The popularity of robot vacuum cleaners can most likely be put down to the fact that in 2020 there were plenty of days when people just didn’t feel like getting off of the sofa.
There is also the added factor of increased adoption as they became seen as less of a novelty item and more as a domestic appliance and also that watching the little black disc trundling over your floors can be quite therapeutic, even if it has been known to upset a pet or two at first.
11. Flexible Garden Hose
As more people spent more time at home in 2020, they spent more time in and around their gardens and more time taking care of their plants and lawns. As a result, there was an uplift in sales of various garden items but especially flexible hoses for watering lawns.
This is another item where it is unsure whether the demand will overlap into 2021. However, with the trend towards longer, hotter summers, the need for garden hoses looks to be on the increase.
12. Non-contact Thermometers
With the increased need to measure temperatures of individuals both accurately and from a distance more important than ever, sales of these thermometers have sky-rocketed in recent times. With many establishments making some sort of checks a prerequisite of entry, these are serving a valuable purpose.
While demand for these will only continue as long as the current crisis, current demand is very strong.
13. Pet Massage Comb
There is no doubt that people love their pets, and in 2020 many of them had the chance to spend all day with their four-legged friends. As you would expect, the rise in pet treats and pet care products was another big seller.
This particular one had the added benefit that the human didn’t need to get involved if they didn’t want to. This comb could be attached to a wall so the pet could rub along it and self groom, also very useful (from the pet’s point of view) for those hard to reach places.
14. Board Games
Long days stuck inside for many families was a battle against boredom, and there is only so much time you can spend watching Netflix. This has meant a resurgence in board games of all types but the traditional games such as Connect 4 and Monopoly were the biggest sellers.
There has always been a thriving market for more niche board games played in the majority by adults, so while this trend may only last as long as the current pandemic, the market for other board games will probably remain strong.
15. Matcha Tea
Often seen as a healthier alternative to tea and even green tea, this finely ground powder is another winner as people tended to spend more time and money looking after themselves and building their immune systems.
A large number of antioxidants in Matcha tea has made this a best-seller in the current crisis, and not all of those drinking it will revert to their normal brew, so demand could remain constant for most of 2021.
16. Seat Cushions
The number of people working remotely rose sharply in 2020. Deprived of their comfortable ergonomic office chair and instead of having to make do with what they had had home, people invested in cushions to make a day sat on that old rickety kitchen chair much more comfortable.
With the number of people working from home set to steadily increase after the pandemic anyway, the sales of these, and office chairs look to remain high.
17. Blue Light Blocking Glasses
With more time spent looking at screens, concerns about blue light have been behind the sales of this product. These glasses, which filter out the light emitted form screens believed to be a danger to long-term eye health.
Again, this is another product where the current crisis has only highlighted or accelerated an existing trend, so the demand for blue light blocking glasses would seem to be here to stay.
18. Video Doorbell
At a time when it is important to see who is delivering to your home, the sales of video doorbells have been predictably high. The ability to contact the person at your front door without leaving your chair or even from another location entirely has been a big plus.
As with the robot vacuum cleaners, increased adoption as they are no longer seen as a novelty item will mean a steady increase in demand over 2021.
19. Weighted Blankets
With stress and anxiety levels reaching heights not seen for many years, it is easy to see how a blanket designed to relieve stress and make the user feel safe and secure has been a best seller.
Another trend highlighted by the pandemic, rather than created by it, this product could have longevity as great as any of the other self-care products that have sold well in 2020.
20. White Noise Machine
This small portable sound machine blocks out snoring, barking, and other background noises that can stop us from getting off to sleep. It has a variety of settings for ocean sounds and rain, among others, to help you get a good night’s rest.
A big seller in 2020, these machines look to be a real trend for 2021 as a good night’s sleep looks to be more important than ever.