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How to figure out which products people need

How to figure out which products people need

Are you looking into selling products for profit or starting up a business” Whether you’re looking at importing products, producing them yourself, or creating an entirely new product that has never been done before, the first thing you’ll need to do is determine what products people need… as creating a product that no one wants or needs would be futile.

Because of the economic challenges faced in 2020 and the drastic lifestyle changes people faced during lockdown, the products that people need have changed significantly. There is a lack of spending power amongst the general consumers, and people are more likely to spend money on products that are practical and serve a purpose than they would on luxury items.

But how do you figure out what products people need

Determining what the customer needs

The first thing that needs to be established is the difference between customer wants and customer needs.

Customer needs are not the same as basic human needs (water, food, oxygen, housing etc.), but these basic needs can play a role in determining which products are always going to be in demand.

Customer needs assume that the customer has some sort of buying power and needs certain products to fulfil basic goals in their life. Customer needs are non-negotiable products and product attributes. Customer needs are often relatively easy to identify as they are simpler and more obvious than customer wants. Customer wants can be quite elusive. Customer needs are defined by things such as problem-solving ability, usefulness, quality, longevity, comfort and reassurance.

Customer wants will differ greatly from customer to customer. In terms of products, they are usually aspirational products, which may not be necessary in everyday life, but will still make the customer’s life more convenient or luxurious. Style, entertainment, value and ease-of-use are defining characteristics of customer wants. Although customer wants were somewhat downplayed in 2020 because of economic hardships, customer wants are still very important as customers want to buy items that suit their personal style and will fit in with their home aesthetic.

The ideal product should fulfil both customer needs and customer wants. Focusing on a specific target market can assist in fulfilling both customer needs and wants.

What are the most needed products?

The most needed products in 2021 will differ greatly depending on what authority you ask. According to an article by ShipBob, a tech-enabled fulfilment provider, the most in-demand products for 2021 are:

  • CBD products
  • Eco-friendly products
  • Diet-fad teas and supplements
  • Subscription foods
  • Probiotics

In a completely separate article, USA Today outlines some of the top-sellers which have been influenced mostly due to the Coronavirus. These include:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Sanitiser
  • Cleaning Wipes and Spray
  • Hand soap
  • Paper towels
  • Thermometers
  • Tissues
  • Water Filters
  • Board games, Puzzles, & Video Games
  • Baking Products
  • Home Fitness Equipment
  • Loungewear
  • Home Office Equipment/Supplies

We are at a very unique point in consumer history where certain things are returning back to normal, but it appears as if we’ll still be spending a lot of time inside our homes. For this reason, consumers need products that make working from home easier, such as printers, monitors, laptops etc. They also need products to entertain themselves while at home, such as board games, puzzles, books, the latest video games, and whatever else they may be personally interested in.

Sanitisation and hygiene products are also still very popular, as are health products and supplements as people aim to keep their immune systems healthy and ward off the risk of falling ill.

Some of the other most ‘needed’ products that consumers need to lead normal, fulfilled lives include:

  • Cellphones
  • Laptops
  • Clothing
  • Medication
  • Homeware
  • Furniture
  • Garden Accessories and Tools

Within different niche target markets, there will be other specific products that are considered ‘needed’.

How do you determine a good product?

With so many products, how do you separate the bad from the good

A good product serves a definitive purpose and is likely to provide a solution to a problem that many people face. Consumers should be able to understand the product easily and use it effectively. Over time the consumer should find even further value in the product, and it should become an item that would be difficult to part with.

The product should also be of high quality and should be made to last. It shouldn’t break after the first couple of uses. Most consumers view ‘good’ products (consumables excluded) as lasting and serving a purpose for at least a year.

A good product should also look good. While this is more of a customer want than a customer need, no one wants to buy a product that has zero visual appeal. Even purely practical items should have some sort of design element to it, and thought should have gone into the packaging and the overall design.

Another thing that should be noted about good products is that they should have good reviews. An easy way to determine whether a product is ‘good’ or not is to check out the reviews and see what consumers, the people that have actually bought and used the product themselves, are saying about it.

How do you find popular products?

How do you know which products are popular and trending right now” The best products to get into selling are those that are only just becoming very popular, not those that are already on their way out. How do you determine which products are hot right now and will be for some time to come

Social media is a great way to start. Social media is an absolute gold mine when it comes to consumer and popular product research. Simply tap into certain sub-sections and find out what products they can’t stop talking about. Social media platforms worth scouring include:

  • Reddit- Definitely check out the subreddit ‘Shut Up And Take My Money as it will offer you a wealth of inspiration and information.
  • Pinterest- Pinterest is fantastic for finding popular products, and they have an entire ‘popular’ section that is teeming with trending products.
  • Instagram- Instagram allows you to find trending products by searching for relevant hashtags, such as ‘kitchenware’. ‘fashion’ etc.
  • Youtube- Emma Chamberlain, the famous Youtuber, is known for popularising many products, including the resurgence of the scrunchie. Have a look at what the cool kids are buying on Youtube and go from there. Also, search for the ‘The Best *insert your own adjective* Products’ videos. These provide a wealth of knowledge for figuring out which products are up and coming.

The next places you’ll want to research are large online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, AliExpress etc. By looking at their ‘Best Sellers’ and ‘Popular Items’ lists, you’ll be able to gauge which items are popular right now. These online marketplaces are also great for reading reviews.

Google also offers a very helpful trend tool that you can use to measure trends for different years and in specific geographical locations.

What influences product trends?

Product trends are influenced by a variety of factors, including supply and demand, celebrities and influencers, the economic & social climate, and improvements in technology. By looking carefully at all of the factors that influence product trends, you can begin to determine which types of products may become popular in the near future and be able to start trends before they happen.

Things like fashion and design usually work on 20-year cycles, with styles from 20 years ago often making comebacks. This is why we are seeing so much early 2000s fashion creeping into 2021.

How do you determine whether a product is worth selling?

So you’ve armed yourself with a vast amount of knowledge about popular products, now it’s time to determine which popular products are actually worth selling and pursuing.

  • Conduct a survey – Create an online survey with one of the many digital tools that you have available to you and ask your social media following or email list to fill it out. The more surveys that you can get people to complete, the better. This will give you some sort of gauge as to whether people would be willing to buy your proposed product or not. In this survey, be sure to ask customers what you could do to make the product better/ more sellable.
  • Make a test sale – Sell a small amount of your proposed product. See how fast they sell and be sure to get feedback from the customers about how they enjoyed your product.
  • Ensure that the money adds up – Are you able to sell this product for a price that is affordable to your target market while still covering your costs and making a product?

Remember that a lot more goes into the success of a business idea than just coming up with a good product to sell. You’ll need to have a quality website or platform from which to sell your product, and most importantly, you’ll need to come up with an effective marketing campaign that is specifically targeted towards your ideal customer. Finding the right product is just the first step!


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