World news is having a popcorn moment now, thanks to events that everyone across the globe is dealing with simultaneously, one of which is the abrupt rise in inflation. You might be feeling it now with your usual monthly spending not fitting your budget. You can cut down your expenses, but that will only go so far.
Suddenly, you get an “a-ha!” moment and want to increase your income instead by setting up an online business as a side hustle. Ideas rush inside your head on what products you’ll sell online, but one question remains—what sells? If you already have a hobby, talent, or skill that involves a trendy item right now, then that’s what you should sell. If not, then we’re here with a list of the best items to sell online.
What to Consider When Choosing Products to Sell Online
But first, let’s talk about pre-game matters.
Running an online business involves time, money, and effort, most of which cannot be replaced. So you need to be careful and plan out your best course of action. Here are a couple of things you need to consider before you start your online business.
Sell What You Have
Plain and simple, your online business should take off from this—offer only what you have. This mostly involves the intangible: time, effort, skill, talent, knowledge, and passion.
Of course, money also comes into play. It’d be good to have an amount to start you off but getting a personal loan will help you cover this in case cash isn’t enough. This venture is meant to generate more money, so it’ll be good debt and if your business starts to boom, it’ll be easy to pay off your debt in no time.
Passion for your business doesn’t have to be full-blown since this will be a side hustle and not the main gig, for now. The only way to know if it’ll replace your main gig is if you start on it first and ride it through until it takes off. It should be something that you’ll enjoy doing since it’s a self-starter task. There’ll be no boss to push you to work on your deadlines. Only you can do that for yourself.
Another reason why you should enjoy your side hustle is that it might be your form of escape from your full-time job that you’re not a fan of. Imagine your daily stress if you don’t like your full-time work AND side hustle (yikes).
Know Where to Sell
It’s an online business, so online exposure is paramount. Knowing where you should market your product will be a big factor in your sales.
Statista reports that Shopee is leading by a landslide as the best B2C e-commerce platform in the Philippines for 2022, followed by Lazada as a distant second, and Zalora as a far third in the ranking. It’s easy to sign up and market your products in Shopee and Lazada, as long as they’re not easily perishable, as deliveries will take a while.
If you want more sales or just want to take it up a notch, aim to be a preferred seller at Shopee! Its metrics are no easy feat, but you’ll have more customers in the end. Shopee’s metrics involve the following:
- Sales record
- Chat response rate
- Order fulfillment
- Seller policy compliance and clean record
- Shop and product ratings
Social media is another avenue to market and sell your products. This will give your online business good exposure. Facebook Marketplace is one example, where buyers look for more affordable products with a more casual vibe. Photos and product writeups don’t have to be curated, as seller contact is the preferred route, but a well-taken photo and well-written writeup will be more enticing to interested buyers. Because of its very casual nature, watch out for dubious buyers. Don’t include a COD payment if you’re in doubt.
Instagram is another social media platform to use to sell your products online. Make a business profile for your side hustle to make your transactions easier. You can schedule posts to hit your target audience at the right time, set up an Instagram shop, boost your profile through advertisements, create automated replies, and add links to your IG stories. Similar to Google, IG’s business profile has Instagram Insights that show you impressions, clicks, and profile views.
For those who wish to sell their pre-loved items, Carousell is your best bet. It used to accept only pre-loved items, but it now welcomes brand-new items and services from online sellers. Even celebrities like Bianca King and Maine Mendoza use Carousell. This is a good start-off point for your side hustle before venturing to other online businesses.
If you’re willing to shell out a bit of money, you can make your own business website instead. You’ll have full control over your branding, marketing, and overall look of the website. The only cinch here is it won’t be as user-friendly as social media apps, and you’ll be responsible for the cost and monitoring of your website’s maintenance.
For edible products, partnering with GrabFood will give your sales a big boost. GrabFood has paved the way for cloud kitchens and small food businesses to thrive. On your end, the menu should always be updated, food should be packed securely to prevent mishaps, and fast service should be provided to avoid cancellations and complaints.
Offer Great Customer Service
Have you tried a restaurant with great customer service that made the food taste as good as how the staff treated you? You’ll realize that you’ve had better meals only when you try others. What happened here? Great customer service happened here.
The best example of exemplary customer service is Starbucks—they prepare your drink as quickly as your regular fast food restos, but the quality and service are similar to that of a more upscale restaurant. That’s why most Starbucks branches are full compared to its competitors.
Do the same for your future customers, and they’ll keep coming back for more.
Top 5 Products to Sell Online in the Philippines 2022
You now know the important points to consider before you set up shop for your online business. It's time to determine what your main event will be: the products you’ll sell online. We present to you the five top product categories to sell online in the Philippines for your online business.
Note that the best-selling online products today might not be your top products next month or in a few years. It all depends on the needs and wants of the buyers.
How will you know what are the best items to sell online if you decide to add more products to your business in the future? Just follow the advice of Nick Loper, founder of Side Hustle Nation in the US: “Insert yourself where the money is already flowing.” Make sure to put your special touch on how you sell your products, so you’ll be a cut above the rest.
Let’s start with the perishable items.
If you’ve tried every food trend since the pandemic started, then you’re now well-versed in making baked goodies or have taken your skills up a notch if you’ve been an avid baker long before the pandemic.
For most people who were stuck at home or stressed with the COVID-19 news, baked goods served as an outlet and will continue to be bankable with or without a pandemic. You’ve tested your recipes with your family and friends and got their seal of approval, and now, you feel it’s time to release your creation to the public.
Competition is tough in this market, but consumers have varied interests when it comes to sweet treats. There are chewy vs. firm cookies, classic vs. realistic cakes, regular bakes vs. healthier options, the list goes on. And if you’ll have doubts about your business, just remember that the greats like Conti’s and Mary Grace started as home-based baking businesses.
Coffee is a constant staple in people’s morning routines, especially Filipinos. We consume 100,000 metric tons of coffee a year, the same as the US, Japan, Brazil, and the European Union. No surprise there, as we’re located in the equatorial zone called “The Bean Belt” which means we have all the commercially available varieties of coffee, namely Liberica, Excelsa, Robusta, and Arabica.
Filipinos’ love for coffee extends online, with a monthly average of 201,000 searches for the word “coffee” every month in the last 12 months. Even with the many options out in the market, people still look forward to new coffee options because of their diversity. New coffee sellers put their own twist on their coffee menu such as showcasing local coffee creations or trying different ingredients.
Another trend associated with coffee is social media. Perhaps it’s the aesthetics of the coffee shop and the coffee mug or container it comes in. But most people, especially the younger generation, share their coffee experiences on their social networks. So aside from your marketing strategy, your customers will give you a boost through their posts, photos, and word of mouth.
All these make coffee the best food item to sell online in the Philippines.
Pet Care Items
You might have expanded your support system to include one furry pet or two during the pandemic, which shouldn’t be a surprise since the top reason why individuals welcome a pet into their homes is for them to feel less stressed. It’s happening worldwide but more in our country, with our households having the highest percentage (67%) of dog owners in Asia.
In a nutshell, you’ll have lots of clients to cater to if you decide to enter the pet care business. It’s a sea of options, but if you want to start with the basics, pet supplies are a good go-to. It covers the essentials such as food, food and water bowls/bottles, collars, leashes, cages/houses, kennels, shampoo, and other daily pet needs.
If you have the skills and talent to specialize in one of these products (cooking and pet food knowledge for pet food, carpentry for pet houses and bowls, artistic eye for personalized food/water bowls, etc.), go for it! But it might take more time, effort, and money. It all depends on the level of your skills, product demand, budget, and most importantly, the time that you can allot.
Other pet essentials involve services such as pet grooming, pet boarding, and pet training. Sure, you’ll need items to provide your services, especially for pet grooming, but your talent and skills are in the spotlight for these services. You’ll give this a try if you’ve confirmed your ability through your family and friends’ pets, with the pet owners giving you a favorable reaction.
Health and Fitness Essentials
For the non-perishable items, health-related items will continue to be part of the top-selling online products in the Philippines since COVID-19 is still considered a health threat in our country.
The Health category is included in the five top-selling product categories in 2021 for Lazada in the Philippines. It also ranks fifth in the country, with disposable masks and slimming coffee as its top purchases.
Disposable face masks are also part of Lazada Philippines’ top five most purchased items back in 2021. It’s expected to be on the list this year since COVID-19 protocols still require face masks, and the disposable kind offers the most protection when worn properly.
People were investing in fitness during the pandemic to keep themselves busy and healthy. That’s why dumbbells had 33,100 average monthly searches in the last 12 months, as it’s the most popular and basic fitness equipment. Include fitness apparel in your product roster since it garnered a good number of monthly searches last year. As your sales increase, you can include various fitness equipment like fitness bands, kettlebells, and medicine balls to encourage return customers.
Electronics and Gadgets
Who doesn’t own a phone in this country? That’s how big your market is, and that’s only for cellphones. Electronic accessories rank second in the 2021 product categories with the most sales in Lazada Philippines. Mobile phones and accessories rank second and third in Lazada’s most bought items online in the Philippines, with mobile cables as the most purchased mobile accessory.
For tech other than mobile phones and accessories, gaming keyboards and wireless earphones were the most purchased items in 2021 for Lazada Philippines. TVs continue to be a prominent fixture at home, ranking ninth in the top 10 items Pinoys purchased in Lazada in 2021.
Attract more customers by holding discounts and sales similar to 12.12 while their minds and wallets are prepped to look for a bargain.
Home Decor/Improvement Products
Home interiors and organization hacks are all the rage, thanks to Marie Kondo, our prolonged stay indoors due to the pandemic, and offices adopting a hybrid work setup. Filipinos’ interest in home improvement tools in the kitchen, garden, and amateur carpentry was consistently high throughout 2021 in Google Trends while interest in “home office” was also consistently high from late 2020 to 2021.
Take advantage of this trend by selling floor mats, floor tiles, and cushions—they’re the most purchased items in the Light and Decor category, ranking fourth in the five top-selling categories in Lazada Philippines.
Selfie ring lights are also a good item to sell since it has approximately 480 monthly searches in the Philippines, owing to the popularity of Tiktok and Instagram Reels For some, this lighting equipment is used for video calls while working from home. In case your potential customers are planning to set up a home office, you can sell related products like desks, office chairs, mobile cabinets, and organization bins or dividers.
Speaking of Tiktok and Reels, use these platforms to market your products using trendy themes similar to the ASMR bin organization trend where people record themselves organizing their items in bins or boxes, ASMR style (satisfying indeed).
Other Reel suggestions are DIY videos involving home improvement tools and assembly videos if your products need assembly. Aesthetic pegs are good posts, too, so Pinterest and Instagram are social accounts that will attract potential customers.
Lastly, home improvement and renovation involve more than one purchase. If you have related products lined up, buyers are most likely to purchase several products from you. Encourage them to purchase more with free delivery or assembly benefits once they’ve reached a certain amount.
- Online Business Ideas You Can Start Even with Small Capital
- Online Business Registration in the Philippines for Online Sellers
- Seller’s Quick Guide to Dropshipping in the Philippines
Future-Proof Your Business with a Citi Personal Loan
Some products mentioned here aren’t light on the pocket, even for an online business that will serve as a side hustle. Don’t worry if your savings aren’t enough to get you started because several loan providers like Citi Personal Loan will allow you to borrow up to ₱2 million to help you jumpstart your business.
If you need a push to start your side hustle, then the Citi Personal Loan promo may be the sign you’ve been waiting for. Sign up for a Citi Personal Loan on or before November 30, 2022 (and get approved subsequently) to get rewards worth up to ₱10,990 upon your Citi loan disbursement. Read the full terms and conditions here.
And if you’ll need another personal loan in the future for another business venture, easily compare and apply for personal loans through Moneymax.
COVID-19, the current world market, and other recent events will continue to influence what products buyers will purchase and where they will buy those products. The lockdown led consumers to buy online through B2C e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada. These platforms are a good starting point for individuals who’ll start an online business as a side hustle.
Perishable goods such as sweet treats and coffee and non-perishable items like electronics, home decor, and items related to health and pets are good products to sell online in the Philippines. These items are trendy at the moment, so expect lots of competition. Stand out by putting your brand on these items, though this might cost you more money, time, and effort.
-  Most popular B2C e-commerce sites in the Philippines as of 1st quarter 2022, by monthly web visits (Statista, 2022)
-  How to Switch to an Instagram Business Profile + 10 Benefits (Hootsuite, 2020)
-  The Philippine Coffee Industry
-  Pet Ownership in Asia (Rakuten Insight, 2021)
-  Top-Selling Product Categories in Lazada in South East Asia (Involve Asia, 2021)
-  Here are the top 10 items Pinoys purchased online this year according to Lazada (Rappler, 2021)