How to Find (popular) Things to Sell on Etsy
Many websites share the best things to sell on Etsy, but base their lists on Etsy shops with the highest number of sales. This information can be found using tools such as Erank or Handmade Hunt (or CraftCount, which has recently shut down).
These tools can be misleading when it comes to what’s popular on Etsy because it’s not necessarily that the shops are selling popular products.
Etsy shops that boast the most sales tend to either have a great marketing strategy, be selling craft supplies, or be selling items that aren’t handmade and/or have low price points.
So in this article, I’m going to show you a different way to find popular products on Etsy.
How to find the Best Things to Sell on Etsy
The following 5 steps are how I discover which types of products are popular on Etsy. If you know what to look for, you’ll find that Etsy leaves clues in plain sight about the best things to sell.
Step 1 – Understand Etsy’s Algorithm
Etsy is in business to make money.
Etsy makes money when products sell.
When an item sells, the seller is likely to list more items on Etsy. This is a small portion of Etsy’s revenue ($0.20 per listing), but it’s revenue nonetheless.
Etsy also gets a percentage of each sale.
If you make a $50 sale on Etsy, Etsy takes around $5 commission.
>> There are many other ways Etsy makes/takes money. Learn more about how much Etsy takes per sale here.
With that in mind, it’s easier to understand why Etsy favors certain listings and shops over others.
Etsy wants to show shoppers listings that are more likely to sell.
The types of products you see on the home page of Etsy, on the first page of results, in drop-down menus, etc. are the ones Etsy’s algorithm has determined have a better chance of selling (based on shopper behavior).
Etsy gathers a lot of information about its users’ behavior, which helps them determine which listings are more likely to sell.
Those listings will then be presented to shoppers before ones that have a lower chance of selling.
Based on that information, we know that the categories, subcategories, listings, etc. that Etsy shows first or features in prominent spots of its website (e.g. home page), are what’s currently more popular and most likely to sell.
When you think about Etsy’s goals and have a general idea of how their algorithm works, it becomes easier to spot product trends on the website.
Step 2 – Sign out & clear your cache
When you use Etsy, it’s keeping track of your shopping behavior. Categories, listings, shops, etc. you’ve viewed will be stored in your browser’s cache.
The next time you visit Etsy, you’ll be shown product listings related to your last visit.
To find what’s popular on Etsy, you want to see what’s popular across the board, not what’s popular based on your shopping history.
So it’s important to sign out of Etsy and clear your browser’s cache (or open Etsy in a different browser).
Otherwise, if you shopped for pink earrings last week, Etsy is going to show you more pink earrings. You may mistake the abundance of pink earrings appearing on Etsy as a popular product to sell. However, it’s just a search term that’s been saved in your browser’s cache.
>> If you currently use Etsy on Chrome, try opening Etsy on Firefox or Opera.
>> If you prefer to continue using Chrome, then you can clear the cache.
If you’re not sure how to do that, simply Google “how to clear cache in _______ (name of the browser you’re using)”.
Step 3 – Gather information from Etsy’s home page
You can get a lot of cues for popular things to sell from Etsy’s home page.
This is where many new Etsy shoppers are going to land, so Etsy wants to show off the best and brightest.
If a user has shopped on Etsy before (and hasn’t cleared their browser’s cache), they’ll see a selection of products based on their previous shopping behavior.
If you’ve cleared your cache or opened Etsy in a new browser, you won’t see a “recently viewed & more” section. You’ll only see categories, listings, and shops Etsy thinks the general public will be most interested in.
Keep in mind, these selections change frequently to keep up with trends, seasons, and holidays. So don’t bank your entire year of products on a trend you see here. Check back in periodically.
Pay attention to:
Etsy has added an additional category to the top menu. Keep an eye on this to see if any changes are made.
It’s currently a “Home Favorites” category, which aligns with the current shopping trend of people buying items to improve their home (since we’re all spending more time at home, however, that may change soon).
There is also a selection of categories right below the top menu. These are regularly updated and can point you towards the types of products that currently have higher search volumes.
Look for themes in the products that are featured on the home page in the circle images, and under each section of the home page.
If Etsy has a Home Favorites section and mid-century modern pieces are flying off the virtual shelves, they’re going to feature mid-century style home decor items more heavily than say, Rustic farmhouse pieces.
Etsy will feature a variety of styles under a category of products, but you’ll typically notice they lean towards featuring one style more than others.
When Etsy features a style of product more predominantly, it’s a good indication that it’s popular among shoppers.
Each section on Etsy’s home page will point to clues about what’s popular to sell on Etsy. Analyze each section of the home page and look for common themes.
The homepage sections to assess are:
- Featured Products
- Editor Picks
- Hand-picked selections
Step 4 – View subcategories
There are a couple of ways to find popular products to sell on Etsy, based on subcategories.
The drop-down menus that run horizontally at the top of Etsy are categories.
If you hover over a category (e.g. Jewellery & Accessories), a drop-down menu will appear.
In that drop-down menu, you’ll see subcategories, sub-subcategories, and even sub-sub-subcategories.
- Category: Jewellery & Accessories
- Subcategory: Bags & Purses
- Sub-Subcategory: Handbags
- Sub-Sub-Subcategory: Clutches & evening bags
- Sub-Subcategory: Handbags
- Subcategory: Bags & Purses
Categories and subcategories generally stay the same. They’re also not niche enough for a small handmade business. Meaning, if you try to sell “bags” on Etsy, your items will get lost. But if you sell “embroidered bridal clutches” under the sub-sub-subcategory “clutches & evening bags”, you’ll have an easier time standing out.
Look for clues in the sub-subcategory and sub-sub-subcategory lists in the drop-down menus.
For example, under Bags & Purses, “Nappy Bags” is a relatively new sub-subcategory. This tells you more people are shopping for “nappy bags”.
The terms used are also really important to pay attention to.
A “nappy bag” is a diaper bag. But based on Etsy calling the sub-subcategory “nappy bag” instead of “diaper bag” it tells you that’s the term Etsy users are typing into the search bar.
A listing for a diaper bag using the term “nappy bag” may rise to the top of searches faster.
The sub-subcategories and sub-sub-subcategories will give you clues about the types of products that are most popular to sell on Etsy.
Etsy offers dozens of subcategories for users to shop under. Pay attention to the ones they feature in the drop-down menu.
Sub-Subcategory Home Page
When you click on a Sub-subcategory in the drop-down menu, the page you land on can offer more clues about what’s popular to sell on Etsy.
Look at which sub-sub-subcategories are featured at the top of a sub-subcategory page.
For example, there are 16 sub-sub-subcategories listed under Hats & Caps on Etsy’s website, but only 8 are featured.
The featured 8 are most likely the categories that receive the highest search volume on Etsy, or are most commonly shopped.
Etsy also has a “Shop by Interest” section of most sub-subcategory and sub-sub-subcategory pages. These can also help you find popular niche products.
Step 5 – First-page results
Once you’ve found popular product subcategories, you can get a good idea of product details that are more popular by analyzing the product listings that appear on the first page of results.
Head to a sub-subcategory or sub-sub-subcategory page and look at the listings that appear on the first page.
On the first page of results, are one or two styles featured more predominantly?
Based on how typical search engines work, the top results are the ones users are more likely to click on (based on statistics gathered by search engines).
Of course, you’ll still see a variation of listings on the first page. If search engines only showed users what they thought they wanted to see, the search engines wouldn’t be able to spot new trends. Search engines need to give users options to determine which ones they click on the most.
Not to mention, not every user is the same. Even if one style of product is more popular than others, it doesn’t mean every shopper will be interested in that style. So a search engine will offer options.
However, a search engine will appeal to the majority first. Look for what type/style of product holds the majority of first-page spots.
This theory applies to Etsy’s categories and subcategory results, as well as when a user types a term into the search bar.
Imagine the search results for “pink backpack”.
On the first page, there may be a variety of: hot pink backpacks, pastel pink backpacks, pink and purple backpacks, dressy pink backpacks, casual pink laptops, leather pink laptops, and a variety of other materials.
If the majority of users click on listings featuring backpacks that are pastel pink, Etsy’s search engine will start showing more pastel pink backpacks over hot pink and pink and purple backpacks.
And if the majority of users click on dressy purse-style backpacks, the majority of search results on the first page (and first few pages) will be pastel pink purse-style backpacks.
With this in mind, look for product features that are common among the listings on the first page.
Let’s say I make jewelry and have found indications that “chokers” are popular on Etsy.
There are so many styles of chokers, I would want to do a little more research to see what style of choker seems to be more popular on Etsy.
I would go to the “choker” results page and look for product features that are repeated in several listings.
I notice that 22 of the 64 listings are gold chokers (7 are silver, 12 are black leather, and the rest are a variety of chokers made from ribbon, beads, or lace).
Gold chokers are clearly featured more than any other material.
And of the gold chokers, 14 are dainty, minimalistic styles (as opposed to thick and bold styles).
I also notice under the “shop by interest” section for chokers, “minimalist” is featured in the first spot.
If I were going to venture into making chokers to sell on Etsy, I would focus on gold, minimalist chokers.
Look for keywords that are repeated on the first page of Etsy results.
Which keywords do you see used multiple times for the product listings on page one?
For example, when looking at the listings on the first page of results that feature gold, minimalist chokers, I can hover my cursor on the listing name to see all the keywords the seller has used in the listing’s title.
After looking at a few titles, I notice a handful of keywords are repeated in several listings:
- satellite chain
These are product features I would focus on when designing chokers, and, they’re keywords I would use in my product titles, descriptions, tags, etc.
Although there’s never a guarantee that a popular or trending product will sell (there are so many other factors that impact sales), this process will get you on the right track.
I hope these steps will be helpful for you when researching new products to sell on Etsy.
Let me know, in the comment section, if you have any questions!
That was really interesting, Everbee is trying to tap into this, but using the free version, I’ve noticed that a lot are not selling on the first page results where I searched using relevant or most customer review.
So you article was interesting, how to work it out what’s selling
This article is outstanding. Thank you so much. It really helps make sense of things. It also shows me I gotta lot of work to do!
Thank you so much!
You always have amazing content in your newsletters.
I have purchased several of your little books and couldn’t be happier with them.
Keep up the awesome work ❤