What Are The Best Things To Sell On Etsy To Make Money?
Jul 13, 2021

What Are The Best Things To Sell On Etsy To Make Money?

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Estimated reading time: 8 minutes.

Etsy sellers

Unlike other marketplace facilitators, Etsy has a niche. 

And the success of the top-selling products on Etsy may have just as much to do with the sellers and how they operate as what the items are themselves.

Best-selling items change all the time. So instead of giving you a fish, we are going to teach you to fish.

This guide will explore who sells on Etsy, who buys on Etsy and why this should dictate your strategy.

We will explore the bestsellers and their categories, and reveal why that should matter less to you than paving your own path.

By the end, you might see that there is no one right answer to what the best things to sell on Etsy to make money are.

In this blog about the best things to sell on Etsy:

Let’s dive in.

Understanding the Etsy Marketplace

Etsy was founded in 2005.

Built for makers to sell their crafts and vintage items online, products must fit into three categories before they can be sold on Etsy:

Etsy came at just the right time for sellers peddling these types of wares. 

Ecommerce was relatively new, and it was certainly piquing the interest of ambitious, creative entrepreneurs, but there wasn’t a solution yet purpose-built for crafty, market sellers. 

That is, until Etsy. 

Etsy founders went out into the marketplaces in the streets of Brooklyn to recruit the first influx of sellers, and these happened to be mostly women. Connecting online and through social media in its early years, women became the drivers of Etsy growth as both sellers and buyers.

When choosing what to sell on Etsy to make money, it’s smart to begin with meeting who is active on the site. 

Who are these Etsy sellers, and who’s buying from them? 

Today as you’ll see below, a large portion of Etsy sellers and buyers are young females. 

Who sells on Etsy

According to Etsy’s 2020 seller census:

  • 81% of sellers identified as women.
  • The average age of Etsy sellers was 39 years old.
  • 97% operated out of their homes.
  • 48% sold their goods for the first time on Etsy.

Home & Living was the category with the highest percentage of active sellers in June of 2020:

Etsy categories by performance

Source: Statista.

Despite this, some of the top Etsy sellers list things like stickers, jewelry, wedding supplies, digital art, and craft supplies. 

From this, we can deduce that some of the best things to sell on Etsy to make money are not necessarily the ones that the most people are selling.

Who shops on Etsy

According to Marketplace Pulse, there were up to 90.65 million buyers on Etsy in the first quarter of 2021.

This is up from 9.32 million in 2012 - a rise that hasn’t faltered during a single calendar year:

The growth of Etsy sales

Source: Backlinko.

Etsy is also a popular platform for return trade, with about 40% of sales between 2011-18 going to repeat buyers. If you get your strategy right, you have a loyal market at your fingertips. 

It seems based on multiple sources that Etsy buyers are typically females, aged 18-35 - the millennial generation. 

What Ety sellers should know about this target audience:

  • Millennials are the largest generational cohort in the marketplace, and their size and spend are only growing. This presents a huge opportunity if they are your target audience.
  • Millennial women are typically driven by values, scarcity, unique shopping experiences, and new forms of information on which to base their purchase decisions. 
  • Millennial women like to make purchases that reflect their values, with around 57% saying a brand’s values impact their purchase decisions. 
  • Evidence suggests that these women will often fill a shopping cart and abandon it, in favor of one of the numerous other options out there. Retargeting ads can have minimal impact, so scarcity is a valuable driver for this audience.

Are millennial women not your target audience? Find more audience insights via Merkle. 

Why are we telling you all this?

Because whoever your audience is, they should dictate what you sell and how.

Let’s explore some of your options for selling on Etsy, and sellers that have had success with them. 

What Items Sell Best On Etsy?

The best things to sell on any ecommerce platform change all the time. 

We could base the decision on who the top Etsy sellers are, and their items. 

If we were to do this, those products would be, in sales volume order:

The overwhelming winner for top Etsy sellers would be the craft jewelry category for things like clasps, wire, chains, beads, charms, and pendants. 

But the fact that there are a number of established sellers in this space on Etsy may be a reason to avoid it, not jump on board. 

It’s Not What You Sell, But How That Matters

Most Etsy sellers will have some idea of what they want to sell on the marketplace since they’ll need to have the knowledge or skills to make their own products.

This makes choosing what to sell more a matter of finding a niche, circumventing competitors, and delivering excellent customer service. 

As long as your items fit into the Etsy categories, they will have a home on the platform. 

Etsy’s best seller list is a great place for inspiration. Look at items similar to yours and make notes about what the listings are doing well and not so well. 

Do the reviews shed light on things customers like and don’t like that you can learn from?

Our complete guide to How to Sell on Etsy in 2021 breaks down everything you need to know and do to set up a successful shop this year. 

A sneak peek of our top tips for selling on Etsy

  • Stake out your competition. What makes you better, and how can you demonstrate that? Do they serve customers at more touchpoints? Are they cheaper or more expensive? What are their shipping options like? Look for all possible attractions and figure out how you can match or expand on them. 
  • Create an Etsy business plan. There’s a lot that goes into an ecommerce business. Before you start selling, take the time to plan your approach. Set yourself measurable goals to track your progress, and look into the apps and integrations that can help you get there. 

Make sure you invest in tools in the right order, and get the most out of them. Find your business plan template for Etsy here.

  • Get your accounts in order. Your Etsy bookkeeping needs to be a top priority, so make sure you’ve got solid accounting software in place and A2X to help you reconcile your transactional data. Separate your business cash from personal, and learn about your tax obligations as a seller. 
  • Optimize your listings and store for Etsy SEO. Etsy has algorithms to rank your listings just like Google, so understanding what it’s looking for will help boost your visibility in the long term. From great photos to smart product descriptions using keywords, lots of great reviews, and excellent customer service, SEO is a holistic, ongoing process. Learn more about it here
  • Make your CX unique. We’ve learned that Etsy’s typical audience are looking for scarcity and brands that reflect their values. Let that shine through in not only your listings but your products and packaging, too. 

Have You Definitely Made Money on Etsy?

You need a tight handle over your Etsy accounting to know whether your products have made you a profit in the end.

Etsy settlement statements don’t always give you the level of detail you need to figure this out. 

Integrate A2X for Etsy to get automated, calculated journal summaries for each of your bank deposits so that your forecasting and reporting is both quick and accurate. 

Try it for free today!

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