Knowing what handmade products are in demand is essential if you plan on starting your own Etsy shop or selling handmade products on Amazon, Ebay or with your own Shopify Store.
Trying to sell products that have no real demand will be an uphill battle from day one. Since you are selling handmade products you have no brand to fall back on to help you generate sales.
What you sell will make up 90% of your success – especially on Etsy. You can make the most beautiful high quality products that work amazingly well but if nobody is searching for it or buying it then you simply will not succeed.
In some very rare cases, new and innovative handmade products do become successful. This is the expectation rather than the rule.
The majority of new and innovative products that do become successful are usually commercial products with millions of dollars of advertising budget behind it.
If you sell handmade products you do not have that luxury. You have to rely on the actual product to do the “selling” for you.
By simply tapping into a ready made demand you can simply plug into a market that already exists. This market will be full of people who are actively searching for the products and who are already buying it.
The danger in making products that are in high demand right now is that it could be a trend that may be short lived. The danger with evergreen products that are in demand is that the competition tends to be much higher.
Striking a balance between the two and using trends to alter or customize the products you are already selling is a great way to make sure you get the best of both worlds.
The Top Handmade Products That Are In Demand (2020)
It is really important to understand that handmade products are mostly bought as gifts. Giving a handmade product that is personalized makes for an amazing gift because it is special.
It is one-of-a-kind and can not be bought in stores. It is exclusive without being over the top expensive.
Handmade products have a tactile quality and a level of ‘imperfection’ that has become very sought after in a world where everything is made my machines.
It has a value way beyond the actual value of the product. In many ways this makes the price irrelevant because if someone wants to buy a truly special and unique gift they do not price shop like the would for commercially available products.
There’s also a very interesting psychological aspect that comes to play here. When someone receives a gift that is freely available in a shop, we can all guess the price and immediately connect some sort of value to the gift.
When someone receives a unique and one-of-a-kind handmade gift, there’s no real telling what the value is and this makes it much more special and unique.
One thing we can say about 2020 is that it has been a strange start to a new decade! COVID-19 has changed our lives forever.
Wearing a facemask in public has become compulsory in many states and countries across the world. The demand for facemasks has skyrocketed and on Etsy, facemasks has been one of the most sought after products in 2020.
Facemasks are no longer a necessity but have also become a fashionable accessory. Most people have several facemasks to match their mood, outfit or to make a statement.
Making effective face masks is not hard at all. There are dozens of amazing tutorials available online and you can start making and selling face masks with almost no skill or equipment.
The demand for face masks will most certainly decline as COVID-19 starts lessening its grip on the world. Wearing masks may not be compulsory in the future but many people will continue voluntarily wear masks.
Asian countries that were affected by the SARS virus in 2003 have adopted mask wearing as a habit when leaving the home.
Making and selling masks online could be a great long term business but you will need to come up with a great angle or marketing tactic.
If you do some market research on Etsy you will see hundreds of ideas that could all work.
Face masks are definitely a trending product but it certainly does have the potential to be an evergreen product as the fear of similar viruses will stay with us for at least one generation.
???? Handmade Product: Face masks
✔ Pro’s: Cheap and easy to make with high profit margins and a massive demand.
❌ Con’s: As COVID-19 starts to fade the demand will drop.
2. Gift Boxes and Subscription Boxes
Gift boxes and subscription boxes are great ‘handmade’ products because you don’t really have to make anything. You simply have to curate products and package them together.
Gift boxes and gift parcels are evergreen products and always in demand. It’s an easy gift and most people will not think twice to buy a gift basket if its the right ‘fit’.
Selling gift boxes is all about targeting the right audience. Packaging general food or bath items together simply won’t cut it. You have to get very specific and very niche to stand a chance in this market.
If you really understand a niche market then making up a very targeted gift box is easy. A gift box is usually a collection of products that are not just useful but has some luxury element to it.
Curing the right products for the right audience is 50% of the battle. The other 50% is in how you package it. This is where your work comes in.
You need to make it look beautiful, valuable and above all make it personal. It is a gift after all and it needs to ooze value. This is how you can charge double what the actual product costs are.
Subscription boxes is based on the same idea but it is usually a monthly deal where someone will receive a new and fresh “box of goodies” every month.
Subscription boxes is usually a slightly different concept and you need to really plan well in advance to come up with creative and innovative boxes every month.
Start by brainstorming ideas around things you already know very well. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Gift box for single dads
- Gift box for nurses
- Gift box for dog moms (or get more specific – Pug moms)
- Gift box for 50th Birthday (men and women)
- Gift box for a new mom
By targeting a very specific niche it will also help inform how you package the gift box and how you personalize it.
???? Handmade Product: Gift boxes and subscription boxes
✔ Pro’s: Easy to ‘make’ because you are just curating products. All you have to make is the packaging. Makes for a great gift and an easy sell to a targeted audience.
❌ Con’s: You will need a fair amount of capital to buy products in bulk. Profit margins will be quite low until you can do more bulk purchases. In popular gift giving niches, gift boxes can be very competitive.
3. Hair Accessories
Hair accessories is not only a very practical product but it is also fashionable and has huge potential. If you are looking for what handmade items are in demand then look no further.
There are essentially two approaches you can follow. The first is to repurpose commercially available products by adding something to it or altering it in some way to make it more personalized.
The second is to make something from scratch. I think this has the most potential because you can create an endless amount of products with some very basic skills.
Bows, hair bands and clips for women, kids and even babies. Even if you just target the kids market you will see a huge demand.
The big challenge with hair accessories is that it is a low ticket item and prices range from $1 to about $15. This means you will need to sell volume to make up for the lower value and this translates into making a lot of products.
If you make your own then you can often source your raw products from off cuts and you can make the products for very cheap.
???? Handmade Product: Hair Accessories
✔ Pro’s: There’s a really broad range of products to choose from and even specializing in just one has a big enough market. It is practical and fashionable and most people make multiple purchases at a time.
❌ Con’s: You will have to come up with something very cute or unique to tap into this market. The products are low priced and you will need to make up for this with higher volume sales.
4. Wooden Toys
There is a large and fairly untapped market for wooden toys. While anyone can go out and buy some flashy plastic toy from Target, finding good quality wooden toys is not that easy.
Montessori toys that are in line with the Montessori approach to learning has a big and loyal following. The focus is on simple toys that encourage creativity.
With very minimal woodworking skills you can create wooden toys. You will need some equipment but the actual time it takes to make wooden toys will be the biggest challenge.
Handmade toys have a really special quality to them and not only are they unique, they last forever.
Wooden toys can often be made from off-cuts and you can source your raw products quite cheaply. If you start with a small range of products that are in line with some popular Montessori toys then you can quickly build a following.
Beautiful handmade toys that are personalized will always be in demand – especially as gifts. Making personalized wooden peg puzzles makes for a great gift.
One thing to be cautious off is safety. Selling products that will be used by small kids needs an extra level of consideration for safety.
???? Handmade Product: Handmade Toys
✔ Pro’s: Wooden toys are very simple and anyone can make them (with some basic equipment). You can source your raw products from off cuts and your profit margins can be quite high.
❌ Con’s: Making wooden toys is labour intensive and can suck up a lot of your time. There’s always a safety risk involved when selling toys to kids. You may also need to invest in some basic tools to get started.
Selling artwork has become very affordable thanks to more economic printing. While one-of-a-kind artwork will always fetch high prices, selling artwork that can be reproduced is a great option.
It is like doing the work once and profiting over and over again. By creating digital art you can print as many as you can sell.
Almost every house, apartment or office has artwork on the walls. If you look at it from that perspective the potential market is huge.
But what if you suck at art? What if you don’t have a creative bone in your body?
Can you still create art and sell it?
There are a number of ways you can do this. If you want to create original artwork then there are literally thousands of online tutorials that show you how to create amazing artworks.
You can also leverage other people’s work and sell that as artworks. There are dozens of stock websites where you can buy the rights to graphic works and photographs.
Shutterstock, Bigstock and Getty Images have millions of high quality photos and images that you can buy and print on canvases or posters. There are also free sites like Pexels, but always make sure you get the appropriate licence.
By printing them and framing them you can create amazing artwork that would look great on any wall. By leveraging print on demand you can do all this without ever printing or framing anything yourself.
All the main print on demand providers like Printful and Printify offer a range of frames and unframes options.
???? Handmade Product: Artwork (wall hangings)
✔ Pro’s: No need to create artwork or even print or frame it if you use print on demand. Its a massive market with many untapped niches. Big profit margins on artworks.
❌ Con’s: You will need to invest time to make the artworks or money to buy it (from stock sites). It can be expensive and time consuming. Artwork is expensive to ship and can be fragile and get damaged.
6. Bath Bombs
Bath bombs is a fairly new ‘craze’ and it is still in high demand. Bath bombs are very easy to make and there are quite literally an endless amount of variations that will allow you to set yourself apart from the competition.
Different colours, shapes, sizes, scents etc. will all appeal to different markets. Once you find your niche you can really grow quickly.
Bath bombs in general is very competitive on Etsy but there are hundreds of Etsy sellers making a full time income just selling bath bombs. Do your own product research to get an idea what is successful already and model that.
You need to focus on one market or one idea and grow from there. You can either target a specific group of people or find a niche market that is not served yet.
While bath bombs are quite cheap and easy to make, the packaging and the branding is super important and can quickly escalate your costs.
It is important that you package and present the bath bombs in a very innovative way to stand out from the competition.
???? Handmade Product: Bath Bombs
✔ Pro’s: Cheap and easy to make. You need minimal capital to buy raw materials and moulds. Profit margins are decent and the potential market is big.
❌ Con’s: You will need to invest a lot of time into making the products. You will also need to find an untapped market and come up with high quality packaging.
It seems like every second person is selling candles on Etsy but there is a good reason for it. Candles are in high demand and it is one of the most popular gifts around holiday times.
There are so many different types of candles and so many niches and markets you can target that the options are endless.
Coming up with a unique angle and or targeting a unique niche is the key to success. Making candles is not hard but does have a learning curve.
Coming up with great packaging is the name of the game and offering something that will appeal to your target market is the key.
Get creative and think about all the occasions where candles are used or could be used.
???? Handmade Product: Candles
✔ Pro’s: Super popular with lots of product options. There are a lot of ways to innovate with candles and personalizing it as gifts for a variety of occasions.
❌ Con’s: Learning curve to get started and need some capital for raw products. You will need to find the right market and angle to be successful in this competitive market.
Next to candles, jewellery is one of the most popular items sold on Etsy right now. There are so many jewellery options that you can really take your pick.
Making jewellery can be as easy as buying beads and stringing them up creatively or it can be as hard as crafting your own from metal.
There are thousands of online tutorials that will show you exactly how to make any of a thousand different types of jewelry.
Anything from leather, to wood to resin and every kind of metal you can imagine. Looking at Etsy you will quickly see what kind of jewelry is in demand and this will help to focus your mind on what you can create and sell online.
Handmade jewelry is in high demand because it is handmade and unique. This also means that you will need to invest a lot of time in creating it as jewelry is usually quite a laborious item to make.
Jewellery appeals to men, women and kids. There’s even jewellery for babies, pets and dolls. Finding your market and creating products they love is the key.
If you have zero crafting skills then buying beads and creating your own beaded jewelry is the easiest way to get started. Offering some sort of engraving or personalization is also really important as that opens it up to gift giving.
???? Handmade Product: Jewellery
✔ Pro’s: Has a high perceived value and can see high profit margins. Jewelry are lightweight and small which makes shipping and packaging easy.
❌ Con’s: Jewellery is a very competitive market and most jewellery has some sort of handmade element to it already. Its very time consuming to make jewellery which results in high ticket products.
Selling a $50 necklace is much harder than selling a $20 t-shirt.
9. T-Shirts and Apparel
Selling unique t-shirts is not exactly a “new” or revolutionary idea but it is evergreen and the demand is always high.
Making t-shirts with unique prints on them remains a great product type because it has so many potential customers.
You can print your own t-shirts but will need a printer or create iron-on vinyl prints. You can also use print on demand services like Printful or Printify to take care of the printing for you. All you need to do is create the designs.
This low risk and high profit business model is ideal on handmade markets like Etsy. If you can come up with catchy sayings or designs you can create t-shirts in hundreds of potential niche markets.
T-shirts remain one of the top selling products on Etsy and every year there are new trends and new design ideas that take off.
There are a lot of t-shirt sellers on Etsy though and you will need to come up with some great designs or find an innovative way to sell your designs if you want to see success.
Using print on demand makes it one of the easiest ways to get started in selling clothing and there are dozens of supplemental apparel products you can combine with your t-shirt designs.
You will need some basic design skills and you will need to learn how to create print on demand t shirts. It is not hard at all but you will need to have some graphic skills to pull this off.
???? Handmade Product: T-shirts and Apparel
✔ Pro’s: You can use print on demand to start with $0 capital upfront. With some basic equipment you can print your own for very cheap. Profit margins are healthy and demand is high.
In theory, t-shirts is a market that will never be saturated. You can also leverage your designs by selling on other marketplaces like Redbubble, Teespring and Spreadshirt.
❌ Con’s: Competition is high as there are thousands of t-shirt sellers out there. Finding a design that “sticks” and makes consistent sales on Etsy will require a lot of upfront work with potentially zero return.
10. Digital Downloads
One of the most popular categories on Etsy in the last 2 years is digital downloads. While this is a fairly new category, it has a huge demand.
Etsy allows you to sell graphics and it is mostly PNG graphics that can be used for print or vinyl cuts.
Many Etsy sellers who have no graphic skills buy these downloads to create print on demand products or to print their own products.
Digital downloads sell for around $5 and the great thing is that once you put up a listing you never have to do anything again. There are no products to fulfill. The same product can keep selling over and over again.
Digital downloads cater mostly to other sellers which makes it more of a B2B product but the demand is definitely there. If you do an Etsy search for “png” you will quickly see what kind of digital downloads are popular.
Product mockup photos, digital artwork, artwork for cards and invitations etc. There is still a lot of untapped opportunity for digital downloads on Etsy.
You can also leverage your work and sell it on other platforms to expand your reach.
Creative Market, Envato and Design Cuts are 3 big marketplaces where you can also sell your digital art.
The big challenge with this is that you need to have some artistic or graphic design skill. You don’t need to be an expert though. Some very basic stuff is selling very well. You can learn a lot of it even if you have zero skills presently.
???? Handmade Product: Digital Downloads
✔ Pro:s: Some very simple and basic graphics and photos have sold thousands and there’s a huge market to sell to. It requires almost zero work once you’ve created your Etsy listing. It is as ‘passive’ an income as you can get on Etsy. All the money you make is pure profit.
❌ Con’s: You will need some skill to succeed here. You either need to be able to produce photography or graphics that can be turned into a digital product. Since you only make a few dollars per sale you need to create a large portfolio of work to see a significant income.
What Handmade Items Are In Demand – Conclusion
Finding what handmade products are in high demand should be the starting point of any handmade business.
Creating the wrong products is one way to make sure you never make any significant number of sales. When you create products and types of products that are already proven to sell then you tap into a ready-made market.
I’ve seen a lot of very ‘average’ products succeed massively on Etsy simply because the products tapped into a hungry market that was under-served.
The in demand products listed above are still fairly broad and within any of those product types you can really drill down and find a small niche market for yourself.
Ultimately you need to find products you can make (very well) given your time, budget and skills.
One last important point is this: handmade products needs one special ingredient and that is love. You need to pour your heart into what you sell and do it with love and a little bit of TLC.
This really shines through in successful products. Don’t just pick products because you think you can make money from them.