If you’re thinking about starting a business, your timing couldn’t be more perfect. As the nation heals from the after-effects of COVID, gaps in almost all markets have revealed themselves, begging for inspired entrepreneurs to take advantage of the unique opportunities that have been presented to them.
What may seem like common sense is still worth repeating: in order for your new venture to be successful, you need to have a product that people want. Moreover, you need to offer goods and/or services that people are willing to pay for.
South Africa is uniquely situated in a way that new business owners are able to make a profit. Not only do we have our own special opportunities in the form of Kasi businesses and the like, but we are also able to take advantage of South Africa being a major exporter of goods. Add to the fact that the internet has made the world seem much smaller than it once was, and you have the perfect recipe for a South African small business success story.
The only thing left is for you to know which products will sell quicker than ice cream at a Durban beach in the summer, and that’s where we come in. We’ve put together a list of guaranteed money-makers that will help you forget all your pandemic misfortunes and set you on the path to financial freedom.
Want to know which mistakes to avoid when starting your business? Here are 5 of the most common ones.
High Demand Products in South Africa
In 2021, South Africa exported a whopping US$123.8 billion worth of goods globally, a 45% increase from the previous year. Analysts believe that this trend will continue on its upward trajectory and if you can find the right goods to export, you can claim your own healthy slice of the South African export pie.
SA Exports with the Largest Growth Potential
The following products are growing in popularity as South Africa’s most sought-after exports, and would be great additions to your inventory:
- South African wines
- Fruits and nuts
- Clothing and footwear
- Gems and precious metals
The larger items, such as vehicles and rubber, may require some out-of-the-box thinking for a South African SME to take advantage of their international demand. But, if your creativity is as robust as your entrepreneurial spirit, there’ll be nothing too big for you to handle.
Hashtags can also be used to grow your business. Here’s how.
Phones, Laptops, and Home Electronics
In this age of technology and digital information, almost anything with a battery or that needs to be powered in some way is a smart product to sell. That being said, there are some electronics that are more sought after than others. We’ll start our list with those in the highest demand, and work our way down.
1. Phones and accessories
Smartphones have revolutionised the way we do business and live our lives. From a seller's viewpoint, they are easy to source, simple to package, and painless to distribute.
However, one particular smartphone accessory is selling faster than the phones themselves. Smartwatches have become an international sensation and it seems that everyone is looking to bling up their wrists with some tech. From monitoring your health to making effortless tap-and-go payments, smartwatches have become the next big thing after their phone counterparts. Heck, some people even use their smartwatches to tell the time.
Other must-have phone accessories include phone covers/cases, screen protectors, ring lights, wireless earphones, phone stands, micro-SD storage cards, and multi-head phone chargers that can accommodate most smartphone brands.
2. Laptops and accessories
Laptops have become more accessible than ever before for the daily South African. And the way we live our lives in 2022 with the rise in remote work and podcasting, etc., they are almost a necessity. You’d do well to stock up on laptops, computers, wireless mouse and keyboards, laptop chargers, USB flash drives, professional microphones, noise-cancellation headsets, bluelight glasses, laptop bags and cases, and adapter accessories (mostly for Apple products).
3. Home electronics and gaming
These home electronics and gaming accessories are selling rampant like wildfire across South Africa:
- Smart TVs
- Smart TV/Subscription boxes
- Game consoles (PS5, Xbox Series X)
- Wireless game controllers
- Noise-cancellation headsets with microphones
- Washing machines
- Portable speakers
- Home security systems
- Power tools and accessories
- Portable projectors
So, if a stock item needs batteries or electricity, it’s most likely to be one of your top sellers.
The best thing about fashion is that it is subjective. Sure, there are some mainstream trends, but you can find a target market for just about any fashion product that you bring to the table. Fashion doesn’t need that much capital and the overheads are low, and if you make the products yourself then your profits will be that much higher.
At the moment, the biggest fashion sellers are wedding dresses, personalised hoodies, novelty t-shirts, sneakers and women's shoes, and jewellery.
There is absolutely nothing in this world that you wouldn’t buy for your baby, as long as you can afford it. Savvy entrepreneurs have started to notice this and are enjoying a financially free life, thanks to all the baby products they are selling. The demand for baby products in South Africa is increasing every year, with no foreseeable downturn. Almost any conceivable baby product will be great for you to sell, with novelty baby t-shirts and baby food products at the top of the list.
Health, Beauty and Fitness
The global pandemic made us all take a step back and think about our health. Health and fitness products were on the up even before COVID and have grown further in popularity as the pandemic dust has settled. When gyms were closed and social interactions prohibited, many had to do their workouts at home, placing gym equipment and accessories high up on the hot-inventory list.
In these recent tough times, self-care became a priority, and the call to take better care of our bodies was heard by beauticians all around South Africa. Whilst cosmetics didn’t need any help in being a popular product, the global disruption and the way people now do business transformed them into top online sellers. Makeup, face masks, and hair products are among the top beauty sellers. While multivitamins, deodorants, and oral and skincare products round up the list on the health side.
Home and Office Equipment
Being forced to spend more time at home made many think about the spaces they are living in. Bedrooms had to be converted into home offices, gyms, and workspaces. And those extra hours at home made it evident which pieces of furniture needed that extra bit of love.
Seat covers are one of the highest-selling home accessories of 2021. It’s joined by home-office equipment and kitchen appliances as products that are in higher demand post-COVID.
Pet Toys and Accessories
If you could buy anything for your human baby, you would definitely do the same for your pet. Dog beds and cat toys are business sensations for the prospective entrepreneur. Add pet food, grooming kits, and off-the-shelf pet medicines to your stock list and you’ll be setting yourself up for a purr-fect selling season.
Ready to Start Your Business?
So make sure that you give your small business a head-start by using all these products we’ve mentioned as a cheat code for success.
If you’re still trying to figure out what type of business to open, check out Home Business Ideas for South Africans in 2022.
And remember The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Making Money Online, for all you need to know about life in ecommerce.