Once you have decided on starting a dropshipping business, the first question that you need to answer is - which dropshipping niches to avoid ?
Infact choosing the wrong niche is one of the main reasons why dropshipper fails.
So you have to be very careful in selecting your dropshipping niche. After all, the niche that you select, is going to define your business success.
To brief you, following are the topics that we will be highlighting in this article.
Once you have a good understanding of which dropshipping niches should be avoided , you will have a lot of clarity in choosing the right niche for your business to begin with.
Here is the list of 15 worst dropshipping niches to avoid as a beginner.
So let's see the challenges we face in each of these niches in detail.
Even though returns are a necessary part of online retail, some categories such as women's clothing can have average return rates of close to 40%.
The Challenge -
In traditional ecommerce business, you can still include these as a part of pricing strategy as you can restock the items and sell them again. But in a dropshipping business, things become a lot more tricky as you do not own the inventory and the supplier might not have a favourable return policy.
Thus if there is a 40% chance that the product will be returned and you will be stuck with a product that will be more expensive to ship than to leave with the customer itself, it will very soon be very likely to eat into your profits.
Thus on our list, womens clothing is amongst the worst dropshipping niches and you should avoid it as a beginner for sure.
Picking watches as a dropshipping niche is the most common mistake that the drop shippers make in the beginning. Watches is such a competitive and saturated niche that acquiring customers wont make any unit economics sense.
The Challenge -
To be honest, we totally agree that it surely is tempting to pick watches as your first niche, given that there are so many of them available for such a low price from pretty much every supplier on your list.
You may, at first glance, think that you can pick a watch for under $5 and then sell it for a huge profit ( given that it looks like another high end watch). But the thing is that just because it looks high end, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is high end. Thus meeting the customer expectations in terms of quality, will be a tough task.
In addition to meeting customers expectations with respect to quality, it will be very difficult to beat the competition for that sale.
Thus, if you are just beginning as a dropshipper, it would be wise to stay away from watches to begin with. Maybe once you have identified a niche and a working marketing strategy, you can revisit this niche and see if it would make any profitable sense at that point of time.
Selling replicas of high end copyrighted products is always a no no. The only thing that these sorts of products can bring is unnecessary trouble.
The Challenge -
To begin with, it is unethical for some one to piggyback on others research and development and copy the design without taking any permission.
Given that someone chose to create a replica of a copyrighted product is their choice, but you choosing to sell copyrighted product copies without brand permission is something that has a potential to close your dropshipping store and will come with a lot of legal costs.
Also, it will be tough to get them out of customs and also there are a lot of agencies keeping an eye on the sale of counterfeit items.
Thus, copyrighted products such as high end dresses, watches, shoes, bags, electronics are something that you should never put in your store. It is not worth selling such trouble inviting products on your dropshipping store.
The dropshipping niche with the least customer satisfaction is the one with fragile items.
The Challenge -
Given that the delivery of drop shipping items is not overnight and the customer has to wait for long to get the product delivered, it is no fun to see the item delivered in a broken state, after having to wait forever to get it delivered.
The other issue with the fragile items is that once they are broken, they hold no value. Thus you will have a disgruntled customer with a broken product and with no guarantee that if you do ship another product from the supplier, it is not going to come as broken too.
Additionally, the fragile items tend to have a bulky packaging with respect to the actual dimensions of the product. Thus the logistics cost of these items are always in the upper end.
Thus in the first place, why choose a product that is very likely to be received as broken, break your trust with the customer and break your bank. There are a million other opportunities in other niches that will give you far less trouble.
Thus unless you have a rock solid logistics in place and have a packaging expertise that can guarantee no issues at the time of delivery, stay away from the fragile product niches in the beginning.
A sale of a great looking couch could look as a high ticket high profit purchase in the first glance, but thinking about the additional shipping and handling costs of such bulky purchases are mind numbing.
The Challenge -
Many of the dropshippers pick bulky purchases as a beginner, with no extra attention to its shipping costs that can actually eat up all of your profits along with the investment too.
For a low ticket item, in case of returns, it is a very common practice of leaving the product at the customer's end itself and getting the supplier to ship a new product to resolve the issue.
But in case of a high ticket bulky item, you as a business can’t even think of leaving it with the customer, and with such high logistics costs, it will become very troublesome for you to get the product back.
On top of it, what would you do if the supplier doesn’t take it back, as in their defence, there is nothing wrong that they did if your customer wants to return the product for some sort of reason.
If you were to ask us which dropshipping niche would involve 100% throwaway marketing efforts, seasonal items will be on top of that list.
Quite honestly, every dropshipper spends so much of their time and money on marketing and it would be such a shame to do it for a niche that is so short term and competitive.
Can you imagine Santa Claus products in the middle of American summer? Of course not. Who would buy a Santa Claus product 6 months in advance. You guessed it right. No one.
The Challenge -
Any effort that you spend on marketing for a seasonal product niche such as christmas decor, halloween theme products is a complete throwaway effort.
Even if you get some success in marketing, it is so short term that the traffic from that marketing wont be usable for any other niche in your store. And if you were to think of it, by the time next Christmas season comes around, what are the chances that the marketing strategy that worked the year before, is outdated and no longer works.
Thus we recommend that you, specifically as a beginner in drop shipping should avoid picking a seasonal product niche.
Any time and money spent on them can definitely be used in other niches that will be valid all year round and also would be helpful in scaling your business.
It is important to note that, as a dropshipper it is absolutely impossible for you to determine the credibility of the supplier's claim with respect to the health related products.
As a rule of thumb we advise that one should avoid getting into products that can harm anyone or affect their health.
The Challenge -
To be honest, pharmaceuticals and cosmetic companies spend billions of dollars in research and development and take all necessary approvals from the relevant authorities. Thus when you buy a product that they sell, you take the pill or put on your skin with a lot of trust.
However, the same trust isn’t available when you dropship a health related product from a dropshipping supplier thousands of miles away.
You can’t guarantee the ingredients of their products and should thus stay away from such products that can put you into trouble and harm somebody's health.
Just like you can’t guarantee the efficacy of a health and beauty product, it will be very difficult for you to guarantee the safety standards of a dropshipping product.
The Challenge -
Each country has different safety requirements that the seller is legally required to adhere to and it is a very high probability that your dropship supplier is from a different country altogether.
Thus the chances of it not meeting the strict requirements of your country is very high and you may end up in serious trouble if something goes wrong.
Thus even if the competition is low or the margin is high, you should avoid safety equipment niche products at all cost. Even if one purchase leads to a serious injury, it has the power to close your business and put you into legal trouble.
Amongst the strictest regulations in any country, kids safety stays amongst the top most priority.
The Challenge -
Unless you are sure that the dropshipping supplier is selling products that meet all kids safety standards, the kids products niche is another niche you should stay away from.
We are not saying that you should not think of the baby product niche entirely, but there are a ton of products that need to meet very strict requirements, such as strollers, kid tents, toys with batteries, small choking prone items etc.
Thus you need to do due diligence while choosing from a baby product niche for your dropshipping business.
One of the biggest disadvantages of dropshipping is delivery timelines. Given that many times the product is shipped from a different country, the delivery time is bound to be longer.
The Challenge -
With an advancement in technology with respect to logistics, these days consumers are getting used to “same day delivery”.
Having to wait for a product's delivery is a thing of the past and thus unless you have a product that the customer will be willing to wait for, it wouldn’t be wise for you to choose a product that is readily available.
If it is something that is available locally, customers can just drop into a store and buy it from there even if it is priced a bit higher.
Thus do your research and if the same ( or similar) product is already available on Amazon with expedited shipping, stay away from it and consider it a dropshipping niche you should definitely avoid.
Fitness as a dropshipping niche has been there since such a long time, that as a beginner in dropshipping business, it is close to impossible for you to acquire customers in this niche.
The Challenge -
The competition will be so high, that any marketing efforts may seem less than what is needed to get a customer to purchase a product from your store.
Having said that, if you have a way to market your product in an unique way or have an access to a unique product that customers would love to buy from you, you can surely consider getting into the fitness products niche.
Thus, as a beginner we would not recommend you to get into a commonly available fitness products niche.
It is okay to have a product or two that is trending, but take it as a way to acquire a customer and a long term product strategy.
The Challenge -
Trends will come and go but your business needs to stay forever. Thus unless you are looking for a short term gig or a side hustle, you should pick a niche that is not too much based on trends.
Things like a certain kind of bracelets, silicon rings etc may trend for some time, but aren’t something that you can base your store on and be known for.
Also these products become so common in no time and are available almost everywhere. Thus if someone can walk into a neighbourhood store and buy it or get it from another popular marketplace, why would they purchase from you and wait for 2-3 weeks to get it delivered.
Even though personalised products may sound appealing to you as a drop shipping store owner, you need to understand that these products are very risky purchases.
The Challenge -
More often than not, the product photography makes a product much more appealing than how it would look in real life. On top of that, if you get the same product personalised with a name or a custom message, that product can not be sold to anyone else in the world.
Thus it becomes so important that the personalised product meets all levels of customer expectations.
Additionally, as a small batch personalisation process, the personalisation technique is mostly manual which is prone to lots of errors at the time of personalization. The name could be spelled incorrectly, the placement may go wrong and many more issues like that.
Thus it is better to not choose a niche which can cause a lot of returns or customer satisfaction issues.
Technology accessories such as personal computer hardware is something that you will get tempted to put in your dropshipping store, but you should think twice before that.
The Challenge -
The challenge here is the audience segment itself looking for these products. Mostly they are customers who are well versed technically and will be happy to order it directly from the supplier / aliexpress itself.
Additionally technology changes so often that it could be very much possible that by the time you get good at marketing and start getting visitors, the technology is already outdated and the whole thing may not feel like worth your efforts.
Thus you will be better off not selecting these products for your dropshipping store.
Just like the womens clothing category, the other niche that you should stay away from is the women's shoe niche.
Even though you might have heard that a woman can never have enough shoes, it is not applicable for dropshipping business.
The Challenge -
The number of styles, sizing differences based on the design, durability are some factors that should be taken into consideration before deciding on womens shoe niche for your dropshipping business.
There are millions of products that are available already and at price points with razor thin margins, that even a single return can eat up profits for many other orders.
Unless you have access to an exclusive designer or a product selection that is unique, don't spend your marketing dollars into a category that is as saturated as it possibly can be.
So before you zero in your niche, do make sure that your niche does not fall into any one of the below listed buckets.
What is a oversaturated dropshipping niche ?
A drop shipping niche is called oversaturated when there are too many online stores ( both dropshipping and traditional ) selling the same or similar products in that niche.
Thus as there are so many stores selling the items already, it becomes absolutely crazy difficult for a new person to achieve profitable success by selling products from a saturated drop shipping niche.
For example, women’s clothing, fitness products, women’s shoes, etc..
In economic terms, the saturated dropshipping niche means supply is way more than demand. Thus it becomes a buyers market, wherein there are lots of dropshippers fighting for a slice of the market that is limited in size.
In these cases -
- It becomes expensive to acquire a customer ( as you will have to spend a lot of money and time for marketing to gain presence in the market)
- You will have to sell at rock bottom prices, leaving close to zero profit for your business.
Should you avoid saturated drop shipping niches completely ?
Well, just because there is so much competition that the niche is ( or close to being ) saturated, doesn’t mean that you need to completely ignore it.
It could be very much possible that there are a ton of customers looking for products within that niche and that is actually the reason why there are so many dropshippers still interested in selling products from that saturated niche.
Thus, if you have a unique way of marketing or have access to influencers ( or is oneself !! ), there is a very high chance that you can make a business out of a saturated niche. Basically, if you have a way to acquire customers at a low acquisition cost, you can definitely choose a niche, even if it is saturated.
On the other hand, if you do not have access to such a low cost marketing channel, you can still choose a dropshipping niche as a small section on your site. As there is a lot of customer intent in that niche, you can acquire customers for them to start transacting in your store and then using upselling or cross selling, promote the products from other niches in your store.
As always it is wise to diversify your product categories, so that you are able to absorb revenue shocks due to things that are beyond your control.
Are all products saturated in a saturated dropshipping niche ?
Actually no, just because a niche is saturated, doesn’t mean that the entire product range in that niche will also be saturated. There is a very high probability that you will be able to find a couple of products that are yet not saturated, even though the dropshipping niche that they belong to, is saturated.
Having said that, please note that these products most probably will become saturated in a short period of time, thus if you do decide to get these products, make sure that you are clear that it will be a part of short term strategy.
You should not think of these products as a long term business strategy because you will surely hit a dead end with these in no time.
What are the dropshipping niches with no money ?
One thing you should always remember is that just because you have a store with products to sell, it doesn’t mean that you will find customers for it. It is much better to learn it in the beginning itself and to be absolutely clear about it, is that you are in a for-profit business.
Thus the only way for your business to exist ( and you to spend time and money on it ) is for it to make money. If after investing money and time on it, it is not generating sales, it is a big red flag and you should stop everything that you are doing and look into fixing it.
Nothing else gets higher priority than knowing why the store is not generating sales.
No matter how hard you try, if your business doesn’t get any sales, for an exhaustive list of reasons, you can have a look at what to do if your dropshipping store doesn’t get any sales after 6 months.
But in the context of this article, we want to look at the product side issue. Basically, if you choose a product from a dropshipping niche that no one is buying anymore, you are sure to get no sales for it. It generally happens if you have picked a product that was trending at one point of time.
For example, look at how the sales of fidget spinners is close to zero and how it was at its peak in popularity years ago. Thus if you find a product like that, make sure it doesn’t get any attention from you.
Thus, these products that at one point of time were a hot category, might be something that no one is interested in anymore.
Thus, just because someone else made profits in a category in the past, doesn’t mean that you can replicate their success by cloning their product selection. There is a high probability that the store you might be taking inspiration from, already knows about this issue and is indeed changing the product selection on their end too.
Should you avoid zero sales drop shipping niches or products completely ?
Yes, of course, no doubt about it. Unless you are a not-for-profit business and do not care about the revenue and have a store for some social cause, do not consider having any such product in your dropshipping store.
What are the unprofitable dropshipping niches ?
The unprofitable dropshipping niches are a set of products that, even if you are able to get sales for, do not contribute to the bottom line of your business. These products may not be that difficult to get sales for, but do have inherent revenue leaking characteristics.
These leakages could be due to reasons such as products prone to excessive returns, fragile items with lots of issues of breakage in transit, bulky items with lots of overhead costs and many such more.
These products are sure to eat up so much of your profits and time, that you may at times feel that it is better to not get orders for them. They along with money would take so much of your time dealing with frustrated customers that it may not be worth having them in your store.
Should you avoid no profit dropshipping niches completely ?
Yes, completely. They do not contribute to your business success and in fact are detrimental to it and thus should not be there in your store. It is okay to not get these sorts of orders and rather spend energies and marketing efforts on products that you will love to sell and help you by contributing to your company profits and also build a customer base that will come and shop from you again and again.
We hope that you, after reading this, will be well equipped to choose the most suitable dropshipping niche for your business.
After getting to know which dropshipping niches to avoid, you may now be looking for the best once to not avoid. So if you want to choose the best dropshipping niche for your business, do have a look.
As always, if you need any help, feel free to contact us. We will be glad to help you choose the best dropshipping niche for your store.
This in fact will give you a lot of clarity in choosing the right products to sell.
In this article above, we covered all of the reasons why you should be careful in choosing a dropshipping niche and also listed dropshipping niches to avoid. If you still have any doubts, we have listed some frequently asked questions that we are sure will help you in deciding the niche with utmost confidence.
No, there is a lot of difference between dropshipping niches and you should be extra careful in choosing the niche for your dropshipping business. You should decide on the final niche only after you have reviewed the pros and cons of the niches that you have shortlisted.
Along with other parameters, you should make sure that you see the niche turning profitable in the near future. There is no point choosing a niche that will not turn profitable, no matter how fancy or cool it sounds.
Additionally as the dropshipping niche needs a lot of expertise in marketing, you should choose a niche where you can scale your marketing efforts. If the turnover will not increase and you can see a revenue cap, you should not pick that niche.
Lastly, you should also make sure that the niche you choose is not seasonal, because there is no point having a business where the sales happen only for a month in a year.
- Women shoes
- Women dresses
- Fidget spinners
- Counterfeit bags
- Yoga mats
- Glass set
- Crockery sets
- USB charging cable