Digital Trends | MIN READ

Top 10 Profitable Ecommerce Business Ideas

Miriam Wambua

SEO Writer

A report by Statista reveals that global retail ecommerce sales market size was valued at $5.2 trillion in 2021. The sales are projected to hit $8.1 trillion by 2026, marking a 56% growth rate.

The soaring growth is contributed by the growing prevalence of mobile shopping among consumers, accounting for 43% of the total ecommerce sales.

Besides, the global smartphone penetration was at 68% in 2022 (about 6.8 million smartphone users). Considering 79% of smartphone users purchase online via their devices, it makes sense what m-commerce contributes to ecommerce sales.

Furthermore, since the advent of Covid-19, many consumers realized the benefits of shopping online, from convenience to reduced costs.
Hence, the ecommerce business is one of the most promising ventures you can think of in 2023 and beyond.

However, one question remains unanswered. What is it that businesses are selling online to maximise their profits?

This article discusses profitable ecommerce business ideas that you can invest in to boost your sales revenue.
Let’s dive in!

1. Sell Educational Materials Online

 e-learning market size

In 2022, the e-learning market size was valued at USD 399.3 Billion and is projected to grow at a 14% CAGR between 2023 and 2032.

The growing internet penetration and the expansion of the higher education sector fuel the rising demand.

Instructors leverage online learning materials, including training videos, webinars, digital assessments and interactive modules for high-quality training.

E-learning has become a profitable ecommerce investment for most businesses. Mainly due to the flexibility it offers, as students prefer self-paced learning from anywhere in the world.

Hence, if you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field, designing an online course could be your perfect ecommerce business idea.

The fact is, most companies and people have ventured into it. However, the soaring e-learning market growth opens a market-wide enough for every business to find its footing.

The first step to designing and launching a course is identifying what you are good at. Once you have mastered your craft, determine the skill gaps in your industry and endeavour to bridge the gap.

For instance, Google identified a skill gap in ecommerce and digital marketing and devised a way to bridge it. The analysis led to their new training initiative for National Small Business Week in May 2022.

2. Invest in Affiliate Marketing

Astute Analytica

Affiliate marketing is an ecommerce business idea that’s making headlines in 2023, with the global affiliate market size projected to hit USD 39.8 Million in 2031. That’s a 7.9% CAGR growth between 2022 and 2031.

Such a fast-paced market growth presents endless opportunities for affiliate marketers in top industries.

Most companies have presented a vested interest in affiliate marketing over hiring a marketing agency for their marketing needs. They are looking to a broader audience reach, driving more leads and boosting their sales.

As such, 8 in every 10 brands (80%) invest in affiliate marketing programs as one of their marketing strategies.

So, what niches should you look to when venturing into affiliate marketing?
The Fashion and Wellness industries are the most popular, accounting for 25% of all affiliate marketing sales, making it a worthwhile venture.

But the most profitable niche remains Health and Wellness, including organic food, medicine, fitness and diet specializations.

Hence, if you have learnt ways to create an effective marketing strategy, affiliate marketing could be your next ecommerce business idea to venture in.

3. Turn your Professional Services into Money Online

You don’t have to keep job hunting if you are skilled in an on-demand digital skill. There’s a wide range of ecommerce opportunities you can grab and build on as a freelancer.

Some of the demanding professional services include:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Social media marketing
Content writing and Copywriting
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Web development
Virtual assistance

Most businesses leverage independent freelancer talents as they are more cost-efficient and allow access to specialized skills.

In fact, 66% of hiring managers prefer working with freelancers and would do so even in the next two years.

But how do you turn these services into money online?

All you need is a passion to deliver, an open mind and the willingness to learn:

Establish yourself as an expert in your field by sharing your skills on social media
Create a portfolio or a website to showcase your achievements
Create your profile on freelancing platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr
Link back to your website and let businesses tap into your expertise

4. Sell Organic and Natural Products

The organic foods market was valued at US $176.51 Billion in 2023 and is expected to reach US $553.13 Billion in 2033. That’s a projected 12.1% CAGR growth within the forecast period.

The changing consumer living standards and lifestyles towards healthy living propel the growing demand.

Furthermore, most consumers are growing health-conscious, which explains the rising prevalence of organic, natural and traditional products.

Additionally, there’s a global trend of organic farming, which has contributed to the availability of organic products and, hence, the market growth.

The demand for organic products, coupled with the consumer preference for online shopping, presents a profitable ecommerce opportunity.

5. Start a Dropshipping Business


Dropshipping is a business model that does not require you to have any products in store.
Instead, you advertise products on your ecommerce site to your target audience. And once a customer places an order, you forward the order to a third party who ships the goods to the buyer.

The dropshipping market size is skyrocketing, with projections to reach $1670.1 Billion in 2031, from $155.6 Billion in 2021. That’s a whopping 27.1% CAGR growth through the projected period!

The average conversion rate of a dropshipping store is 2.45%, which explains the average 10%-30% profit margins for a dropshipping business.

Since dropshipping can increase an online store’s profits by up to 50%, starting a dropshipping business could be your perfect business idea. Especially since it benefits both the supplier and your business as well.

Here are the leading niches to invest in when considering dropshipping as a business:

Fashion and design
Toys and DIYs
Beauty products

Also, if this ecommerce business idea aligns well with you, here is a nine-step guide to starting a dropshipping business.

6. Sell Personalized Accessories and Gifts

Have you discovered the soaring demand for personalized gifts? From 3D-printed items to private-label brands for both businesses and individuals.

The drive towards consumer-focused marketing has led to most brands offering branded items to their customers. This creates awareness of the brand while establishing an emotional connection with them.

Additionally, many people are gifting their loved ones personalized gifts to leave a mark by offering something unique.

No wonder the personalized gift market is projected to hit USD 13,011.27 by 2027.
That said, is selling personalized gifts and accessories the perfect ecommerce business idea for you?

Here are the top five most profitable personalized gift ideas you can start with:

Sell customized clothing, including hoodies, hats and t-shirts
Add personalized messages, quotes and names to accessories such as bracelets and cufflinks
Offer personalized wall art, photo frames, and engraved wooden signs for home decor
Customize stationary such as notebooks and pens with monograms, logos, names or quotes.
Personalized gift hampers for corporate events, birthdays, and anniversaries

7. Start an Online Fitness Program

The global virtual workout market size was valued at USD 16.4 Billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 26.72% by 2030. Such a huge growth raises a brow as many seek to understand the driving force behind it.

Well, remote workouts offer greater accessibility and flexibility than in-person workouts at the gym ever will. It’s no wonder most millennials and individuals with fixed work schedules are shifting towards working out remotely.

Besides, since Covid-19 hit, most people have grown to embrace remote workouts and are investing in them unrelentingly.

You have all the flexibility it takes to design your virtual fitness program. Either per hour or per session. But how do you package your programs to keep them profitable?

You can have a one-time purchase or a subscription-based model. You can also combine both, offering flexibility to your customers.

Whichever way you choose, remember a subscription model is worth considering if you are looking for a sustainable source of income. This is because you can tweak the plan to include complementary services to encourage your customers to return.

For your inspiration, you can check out the Tone It Up fitness program’s pricing plan.

8. Launch a Subscription Box Ecommerce Store

IMARC Group valued the global ecommerce box market size at US $28.1 Billion in 2022 and is projected to hit US $73.6 Billion by 2028. That’s a 16.5% CAGR growth within the projected period.

A subscription box ecommerce store offers customizable packages to consumers. The boxes are delivered to the customers’ doorsteps on a regular basis.

The customers agree to pay a certain amount on a recurring basis, and they can cancel the subscription if they no longer need your services. This explains the market’s soaring growth as customers prefer convenience and personalized packages.

An excellent example of a subscription box ecommerce store is TheraBox. TheraBox delivers a box of curated self-care packages each month with 8 full-size products aligning with that month’s theme.

Such a business model could be your perfect ecommerce idea. Primarily, following the growing consumer demand for convenience and customizable packages.

Other profitable products you can venture into on a subscription-box model include:

Jewellery subscription box
Beauty subscription box
Curated butcher boxes
Fresh fruits subscription box
Book subscription box

9. Sell Home Decor Products

Sell Home Decor

The Market Data Forecast valued the global home decor market size at USD 727.6 Billion in 2022. The market is projected to reach USD 939.7 Billion in 2028, growing at a CAGR of 6.8% within the forecast period.

With such a growing market comes an ecommerce business opportunity for interior designers, carpenters and resellers. You can set up your ecommerce website and showcase your products and services, allowing customers to order online.

You can also partner with a drop shipper to sell linens and ceramics to increase online visibility and boost sales.

The home decor ecommerce store is also a perfect opportunity for photographers, artists and designers. You can partner with a print-on-demand service provider to develop customized home decor products.

10. Invest in Print-On-Demand Merchandise

Print on demand

New Castle’s 2023 report reveals that the print-on-demand industry recorded $6.4 Billion of income in 2022. The sales are projected to hit $64.3 Billion in 2032, marking a 26.4% CAGR between 2023 and 2032.

This is a perfect opportunity for designers to partner with producers and offer personalized merchandise. Like the dropshipping business idea, you don’t need any inventory in-store. 

All you need is to upload blueprints of merchandise on your ecommerce website. Once a customer orders, you produce, package and ship the product to the customer.

In a nutshell, you only produce the merchandise when a customer orders.

Wander Prints is a perfect example of a print-on-demand ecommerce website. It offers a wide range of customized home decor and gifts on the website, where customers can directly order or request a customization.

How Do I Start an Ecommerce Startup?

As you may have noticed, every industry has a profitable ecommerce opportunity. And the first step to launching your ecommerce startup is identifying your passion, interests and, ultimately, what you do best.

With your expertise, you can then identify creative ways to partner with other experts for marketing, packaging and delivery to your customers.

Even with digital marketing skills, you can resell existing products on your website without necessarily engaging in the production process. Think of the dropshipping business idea and affiliate marketing.

But a successful ecommerce business starts with an optimized eCommerce website. Hence, if you are unsure of the best design for your ecommerce business, working with an ecommerce development expert would be invaluable.

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