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Top Online Shopping Categories

Ready to take your e‑commerce store to the next level? Learn about the top online shopping categories to make the most out of your efforts.

Do you plan to set up an online store? Do you intend to minimize risks for your business? Perhaps you want to ensure that you have a steady stream of revenue? If you find yourself nodding along to any of these questions, it is important that you learn about the top online shopping categories in 2022.

By knowing the most popular online shopping categories of the year, you can increase the chances for your business to achieve your desired level of success. Apart from securing your investment to a significant degree, this also allows you to gather a larger audience base for your digital store.

Fortunately, learning about these shopping categories list trends is not difficult. By looking at relevant and reliable sources, you can get a firm grasp over the most sought after product categories that sell like hot cakes over the internet.

To assist you through this journey, here is a guide to the most popular categories for online shopping.

What is e-commerce?

Simply put, e-commerce is the practice of buying or selling products and services over the web. This medium of transaction earns it the name of “electronic commerce,” even though the shortened moniker “e-commerce” has almost exclusively replaced that full form.

E-commerce encompasses all types of industries and sectors that sell their goods or solutions over the internet. This makes it a ubiquitous form of business that you can find everywhere over the web. Whether you are buying clothes or purchasing books through the internet, you end up using e-commerce as well as its associated solutions to complete your shopping.

Some of the most common top online shopping categories include electronics, fashion, toys and hobbies.

Other examples of e-commerce categories include but are not limited to:

  • digital services
  • cosmetics and body care
  • food and beverage
  • furniture and decor
  • health and wellness
  • household items
  • media
  • pet care
  • office equipment

This outlines that e-commerce is as widespread as the internet itself. In turn, this provides plenty of opportunities to those who want to start their own operations within this industry. If you belong to this group, you can also take advantage of this medium and launch your very own online business to sell your products or services.

That also highlights the need to learn more about online shopping categories that are performing well across the web. By knowing more about this information, you can plan your business operations in a way that helps you steer clear of losses and leads you towards significant return on investment (ROI).

Why do stores need to know the top online shopping categories?

By performing market research about the most sought after online shopping categories, e-commerce business owners can optimize their inventory, boost their revenues, and mitigate their risks. In addition to delivering these benefits, this practice also leads online stores to serve their target audience in a better manner.

Manage operations more effectively
By learning about top online shopping categories, you can plan and execute your business activities in a way that helps you serve these popular segments. As a result, you can manage your operations in an optimized and targeted manner, while staying away from redundant activities that slow down the progress of your business.

Organize inventory with popular items
Once you determine the most popular online shopping categories, you can populate your inventory with relevant products and services. In addition to optimizing your spend, this also allows you to obtain or offer only those solutions that come with a higher chance of selling than many other options.

Increase consistent income
When you organize your operational activities as well as your inventory with the intention to serve popular markets, it allows you to cut back on unnecessary expenditure. At the same time, it leads you towards improving your overall income and profits through consistent sales of your goods or services.

Reduce financial risks
By being mindful of shopping categories list, you can also make sure to decrease your expenses on inventory that doesn’t have many chances to move or services that don’t significantly appeal to your audience. This also optimizes your marketing spend and lets you invest only in those solutions that have a high ROI.

Connect with target audience
No matter if you are establishing your online business or revamping your existing operations, knowing about popular e-commerce categories allows you to serve specific groups of consumers. Once you mold your services to cater to this target audience, it lets you master the aspects of conversions and customer retention.

Establish business presence
By focusing on a certain niche of goods or services, businesses can increase their chances for success. You can also reap the rewards of this approach by establishing your status as a specialized provider in your field. This goes a long way towards ensuring that your online business reaches the heights that you aspire to achieve.

Scale the business
Once you put together the factors of high ROI and optimal audience outreach, they lead to an ideal environment for growth in almost every sector. This enables you to scale your online business in a viable, sustainable, and trouble-free manner. As a result, you can easily achieve your short-term and long-term goals to expand your operations.

Due to these benefits, it is absolutely imperative for online businesses to know what type of shopping categories can offer the most sustainable business model. If you want to leave no stones unturned while turning your business into a success story, you can also adopt this practice for your website.

Most Popular Online Shopping Categories

In the United States, the top online shopping categories in 2022 differ in terms of total revenue and overall popularity. While the top performing e-commerce categories by commercial success are gathered by total sales, the most sought after e-commerce segments by popularity assess purchases made by individuals within a 12-month period.

Since both of these perspectives are highly important and allow you to make an informed decision, it is crucial that you look into both of these aspects. After understanding which categories can perform well in terms of financial success and which ones have already surpassed others in terms of popularity, you can choose how to adopt them for your business model.

Top e-commerce categories by popularity

This looks at the most popular online shopping categories in the U.S. This ranking is defined by the percentage of Americans who purchased something from a respective e-commerce category in the past 12 months of the respective survey (between April 2021 - March 2022).

This includes the following shopping categories list and percentage of consumers who bought at least one item from the respective segment.

  • Clothing - 53%
  • Shoes - 42%
  • Consumer Electronics - 30%
  • Books, Movies, Music, and Games - 28%
  • Personal Care and Beauty - 28%
  • Food and Beverage - 28%

As outlined by the statistics above, the topmost e-commerce category in terms of popularity is clothing. It stands tall with 53% of Americans purchasing at least one article of clothing during the past 12 months.

This is closely followed by shoes. This category highlights that 42% of Americans bought footwear within the past year of participating in the survey. The top-third category is consumer electronics, which saw these products fetching the attention of 30% of Americans.

Meanwhile, the categories of books, movies, music and games; cosmetics and body care; as well as food and beverage stood with an equal 28 percent of Americans purchasing something from them. This makes these three e-commerce categories stand at a tie.

Top e-commerce categories by revenue

This outlines the top online shopping categories in the U.S. in terms of the total projected sales amount. These projected sales for 2022 outline how certain segments of e-commerce are set to grow this year. This gives you an idea of banking on e-commerce categories with the most potential.

This covers the following online shopping segments.

  • Consumer Electronics - $219.33 billion
  • Apparel and Accessories - $203.75 billion
  • Furniture and Decor - $129.45 billion
  • Health, Personal Care, and Beauty - $111.03 billion
  • Auto and Parts - $86.26 billion

Out of a total projected sales amount of a whopping $1 trillion ($1,033.83 billion), the consumer electronics category takes the cake with $219.33 billion. Closely following it is the apparel and accessories category with $203.75 billion. This also makes both these categories corner more than 40% of total projected e-commerce sales in the U.S.

Meanwhile, furniture and decor comes at the third place with $129.45 billion in projected sales, while health, personal care, and beauty climbs to the fourth position with $111.03 billion.

This list of the Top 5 online shopping categories by revenue is closed with auto and parts, which comes with $86.26 billion in projected sales.

Overview of top categories

After taking a look at the most popular online shopping categories by both consumer activity and projected revenue in 2022, you may want to learn more about the general description of each category. Gathering this information can help you get your ducks in a row and be ready to elevate your business with proper planning.

To assist you with these tasks, here is an overview of shopping categories list that make the cut for their popularity as well as projected income.

Apparel and accessories

This category bundles clothing, shoes, and other apparel accessories. If you want to start your online store in an industry that shows consistent consumer demand and significant revenue projections, this could be a great fit for you.

Some of the items that are sold within this category include but are not limited to summer dresses, skirts, t-shirts, jeans, formal wear, sleepwear, and swimwear. The popular category of shoes also falls under this label and allows you to sell sought after sneakers and trendy heels to your target audience.

Consumer electronics

Together with apparel and accessories, it has also become the reigning champion of all e-commerce categories with its sky-high amount of sales since at least 2010.

Since consumer electronics is a vast segment, the products that you sell under this label can vary greatly in terms of their type and price. The best approach for you is to assess what your target audience may expect from you and decide upon the kind of products you want to offer.

Books, movies, music, and games

As outlined by the various labels of product types, this category has become one of the most expansive selection of items in e-commerce. However, it does not include streaming or digital downloads for media.

Instead, it refers to hard copies of books, movies, music, and games in the form of CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray. This could make a great addition to your electronic or hobby store, depending upon what type of audience you want to entertain and which groups of products you want to sell.

Health, personal care, and beauty

This category is all about helping consumers take care of themselves while also providing them with health and fitness equipment. In terms of projected revenue, it is just behind the Top 3 categories of apparel and accessories; consumer electronics; and furniture and decor.

This makes it a top category to have for many online stores. For instance, large retailers who offer everything under the sun could benefit from it just as much as small businesses that offer niche skincare products on their website.

Food and beverage

The food and beverage sales exclude any activity at restaurants for food delivery. Instead it only looks at edible products and drinks that are sold through online websites. In case you plan to succeed with your food products, you may want to go all in on this category.

For food and beverage, you can go through a variety of grocery, confectionery, and specialty drinks inventory. Depending upon your service areas and your partnership with shipping companies, you can learn how to deliver food items to your audiences’ doorsteps while prioritizing their health and safety.

Auto and parts

This category relates to new and pre-owned vehicles as well as their associated parts. Along with health, personal care, and beauty, as well as food and beverage, it makes up for more than half or 51.9% of total market share in e-commerce.

If you run a dealership, you can exclusively offer a certain brand of vehicles. Otherwise, you can also move forward with selling auto parts to join this competitive segment and take your revenues to the next level with consistent hard work and audience outreach.

Furniture and decor

The furniture and decor category had a boost during the pandemic where consumers were using these purchases to spruce up their homes. Now that people are getting back to work, the sales for these products still appeal to those who either love decorating or want to enhance their surroundings.

The products that you can offer under this label may include offerings such as couches, coffee tables, bed frames, and bookshelves. Apart from furniture, decor items could include products such as rugs, paintings, plants, and lighting fixtures.

Online shopping in 2022

With a slew of online shopping trends in 2022, you can execute a variety of approaches to make money online. Besides boosting your revenue, this could also help you optimize your spend and strengthen your connection with your target audience.

Fast delivery requirements

With the growing need for quick fulfillment by customers, ensuring faster delivery of orders is causing many retailers to go all in on optimizing their delivery channels. This has given way to new delivery methods that could make fulfillment faster, while also decreasing the spend that goes towards delivery mechanisms. You can also test out these innovative methods to ensure that you are fulfilling customers’ expectations without any compromise.

Fast growth categories

Two of the top online shopping categories in terms of revenue projection are also set to experience fast growth. This includes the segments of auto and parts with year-over-year growth of 30.1%, as well as food and beverage with year-over-year growth of 20.7%. If you have interesting offerings or simply feel confident in becoming a strong reseller, looking into these segments could be beneficial for you.

Livestream shopping

Livestream shopping refers to the mechanism where influencers or celebrities use social media livestreams to sell products in real time. The industry is massive in China, where it is projected to generate $480 billion in 2022. But in the United States, it’s still spreading its wings with social media channels testing its viability. By looking into this mode of selling, you can benefit from a new stream of revenue earlier than many of your competitors.

Digital ads reign supreme

With Gen-Z’s buying power now making its presence known, it is high time for businesses to find ways to reach this new generation of consumers. That is where using digital ads to connect with Gen-Z comes into the picture. By looking into this strategy, you can push for your most popular online shopping categories to be noticed by these younger consumers and strike possibly lifelong connections with this growing segment of audience.

As long as you keep an eye out for the latest trends and smartly utilize them within your approach, you can get the most out of your efforts. This not only applies to leveraging trending e-commerce categories, but also holds true for every other aspect of your online business.

Start your own e-commerce business

By using the knowledge of popular shopping categories list and beneficial business trends, you can set up a strong foundation for your own e-commerce business. This helps you start your online store with confidence, and also enables you to take it to the next level with your hard work and dedication.

The journey might seem tedious at first. But following the right spaces and taking informed advice can turn this challenge into an enthralling adventure.

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