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11 Profitable Digital Products to Sell Online in 2021 (According to Trends)

Tifa Ong
WRITTEN BY
UPDATED
October 21, 2021

Our readers ask us one question over and over again: what should they sell on the internet? They’ve seen their peers making 6 to 9 figures just by selling products they can’t touch: digital products.

 

As of January 2021, 4.66 billion people are actively using the internet. That’s 59.5% of the world population. Imagine selling to this enormous number of people without getting out of your house!

 

 

But there’s a problem.

 

What digital products can you sell? With so many choices out there, it can be paralyzing to decide on one or two.

 

That is why we’ve written this article for you.

 

Let’s dive right in.

 

Why Sell Digital Products VS Physical Goods?

 

If you’re thinking about starting an eCommerce business, selling digital products is one of the easiest ways to go. They have many pros over physical products:

 

  1. Low barrier of entry
    The cost to start selling digital products is usually much lower compared to physical goods. Unlike physical products, you don’t have to pay for warehousing, manufacturing, shipping, and so on.
  2. No need to ship or stock your product
    The digital products literally sit on the internet, available for download an infinite number of times.
  3. 4.66 billion people are your prospects
    Instead of marketing to the local community, you could open up to 59.5% of the population at once!
  4. Easy to diversify your product line & scale your business
    Just add in more digital products, and your customers can buy them instantly.

 

That said, digital products are not perfect. Some of the cons are:

 

  1. Intense competition
    Because you’re practically competing with everyone in the world.
  2. Needs more effort to differentiate yourself
    Due to the competition, you need to create a very compelling digital product offer.
  3. Some prefer to buy physical products
    …because they can touch and feel them.

 

Still, many people decided to jump into the world of digital products because the pros obviously outperform the cons.

 

 

The Most Profitable Digital Products To Sell Online

 

Here are some digital product ideas to get you started!

 

1. Online courses

 

Online Courses

 

Teaching online lets you capitalize on one of your greatest strengths: your expertise. With an online course, you can teach people how to solve your prospects’ problems.

 

Your prospects will always have a problem they want to solve, and they want to learn how to do it by themselves, whether to learn how to manage Facebook ads, start an online home business, cook Keto recipes, and many more.

 

The best part about online courses is that your students can learn at their own pace, and you can make your course into ‘evergreen content’.

 

‘Evergreen content’ is search-optimized content that is continually relevant and stays “fresh” for readers over a long time.

 

This means, an evergreen online course just needs to be launched once, and it can generate income for many years to come (as long as you update it).

 

Examples of trending or popular online courses:

 

  • Productivity Masterclass – Principles and Tools to Boost Your Productivity
  • Video Editing For Adobe Premier Pro For Beginners
  • Intro to Procreate: Illustrating on the iPad
  • iPhone Photography
  • The Science of Well-Being
  • Learning How To Learn

 

 

2. Coaching, freelancing and consulting services

 

Services like coaching, freelancing, or consulting are digital products too. You’ll meet, deliver the work, and get paid — all in the virtual world.

 

It’s similar to how you would normally walk into a doctor’s office and get a consultation. Just that for selling services online, imagine doing all that on Zoom or phone call.

 

If online courses are for people who want to solve the problems themselves, selling services is for people who don’t have the time, energy, and skill to solve their own problems. They prefer to hire someone else instead.

 

And this is where your services come in.

 

Selling services can be broadly categorized into 3 types:

 

  1. Coaching
    Help someone go toward the direction they wish to go and support your coache at every level in becoming who they want to be.
  2. Freelancing
    Offer your services as an independent contractor as opposed to an employee.
  3. Consulting
    Give expert advice to people working in a technical or professional field.

 

Some of the trending and popular services are:

 

  • Business coaching or consulting: attract customers online, start a business from scratch, etc.
  • Wellness coaching: crisis fatigue, personal well-being, etc.
  • Machine learning – freelance
  • Automation – freelance
  • Data analytics – freelance
  • Commercial disputes consulting
  • Managed document review consulting
  • Capital raising consulting

 

 

3. Membership sites

 

Membership Sites

 

Memberships are a perfect digital product to sell online because they’re continual – you’ll be getting paid for as long as your customer stays.

 

The best part about selling memberships is that it’s like an unlimited subscription box, but without the physical items.

 

You can offer any kind of membership imaginable and let people sign up monthly or yearly. It applies to any niches under the sun, including health & fitness, entrepreneurship, cooking, productivity, and so much more.

 

Members often get the chance to participate in exclusive groups, discussions, Q&A, webinars, and access to content that free members can’t get.

 

Some of the most popular and trending membership niches are:

 

 

 

4. Photography

 

In the first quarter of 2021, over 5 million blog posts were published on WordPress every day. And each of those needs at least 1 high-quality photo as its featured image.

 

It’s no wonder that the demand for unique photography has skyrocketed!

 

Selling your photographs is essentially selling the license of your photographs for commercial use. Once the customer has bought your photographs, they can edit or publish them anywhere as they see fit.

 

There are three ways to sell your photographs:

 

  1. On established stock photography marketplaces like iStock, Shutterstock, DepositPhotos, etc (check our full guide on how to sell photos on these sites)
  2. On best eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, Kajabi, etc.
  3. On your own website and social media, such as Flickr and Instagram.

 

Photography has many niches on its own, so which niches are the ones trending right now?

 

  • Authentic people
  • Lone human silhouettes
  • Non-binary (diverse people with different skin colors and expressions)
  • Food
  • Plant
  • Nature
  • Unedited natural looks

 

 

5. Music & sound

 

Music & Sound

 

Audio producers, podcast creators, and online video channels all use music in one form or another to make their work more appealing.

 

Did we mention that there are over 48 million podcast episodes as of April 2021?

 

Each of those episodes needs great audio or sound to make the content more engaging.

 

Creating your own music and sound needs specific recording equipment and instruments, but if you already have one, this is a great way to start selling your art online.

 

Selling your music or sound is similar to selling photographs. You showcase your work on a marketplace or your own website and sell the license.

 

These are the most bought types of music and sound on the internet right now:

 

  • Podcast intro music
  • Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) sounds such as cat purring, water dripping, scratching, etc.
  • Transition sound effects such as whoosh, swoosh, sweep and zap!
  • Retro sounds, like 1970s funk, oldies or 1980s Synthwave
  • TikTok music

 

 

6. Video products

 

Videos have become one of the most popular types of content around the web. Businesses, organizations, and individuals all use videos to learn, educate, promote themselves, and more.

 

It’s no wonder 85% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, and 59% of non-video marketers expect to start leveraging it in 2021.

 

But most businesses don’t have time to make a video from scratch. They’ll either contract video editors and producers or build their own in-house team.

 

Regardless, these people often buy video footage or clips to shorten their video production time. This is where you come in.

 

Selling your videos is also similar to how you can sell photographs and music.

 

What type of video footage is trending in 2021?

 

  • Good times clips like having fun, feeling happy, and excited.
  • Freedom-themed clips
  • Wonders of nature footages
  • Health and physical exercise videos
  • Diverse cinematic portraits
  • Explainer animation

 

 

7. Graphic Design

 

Graphic Design

 

If you love graphic design, then this is the industry for you.

 

Graphic designers are responsible for creating and presenting visual communications to audiences through web layouts, print materials, user interfaces (UI), etc. They create logos, brochures, posters, advertisements or any other design that needs a professional touch.

 

You can either offer your design services as a freelancer or sell your art pieces online. Here’s a round up of 11 great places to find freelance designer work.

 

The most popular types of design in 2021 are:

 

  • Emoji or stickers
  • Social slide decks
  • Cartoon illustrations
  • Geometric shapes
  • 3D designs

 

 

8. Email lists

 

Got an email list? The good news is people are willing to pay you when you send their promotional emails and your subscribers click a link in the email.

 

Email is the top 3 distribution channel for B2C and B2B marketers. When done right, emails have been shown to generate $42 for every $1 spent, which is a whopping 4200% ROI, making it one of the most effective options available.

 

And one of the methods these email marketers use to reach out to the cold traffic is partnering with list owners with relevant subscribers.

 

If your subscribers are people interested in sustainable fashion, small to medium-sized businesses may call you up and offer to pay you for every click they get.

 

Some of the trending interests that have been steadily growing are:

 

  • DIY projects
  • Gardening in the backyard
  • Card games with friends or family
  • Cooking
  • Painting
  • Learning a new language

 

 

9. ebooks

 

eBooks

 

Always wanted to publish a book? Well, technology has made book publishing possible in a matter of minutes.

 

You don’t have to pay thousands to a book publisher anymore. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing allows anyone to publish a book for free in less than 5 minutes.

 

Once your book is published, it’s listed on the wide Amazon market, ready to be discovered and purchased by anyone shopping on Amazon.

 

You can even read your book out loud and sell it as an audiobook (with your very own voice!)

 

You either write in fiction or non-fiction in various genres. And these are the trending eBooks genres on Amazon:

 

  • Romance
  • Literature & Fiction
  • Paranormal & Urban Science Fiction
  • Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
  • Biographies & Memoirs
  • Diets & Weight Loss
  • Self-Help – Personal transformation
  • Self-Help – Motivational

 

 

10. Apps & games

 

By 2021, mobile app downloads will reach 258 billion — a 45% increase since 2017. With the increased usage of mobile apps, the industry expects to generate over $157 billion in consumer app spend by 2022.

 

And what about online games?

 

In 2020, the global online gaming market generated around $21.1 billion in revenue, translating to a record 21.9% growth compared to the previous year.

 

This boost is due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which has forced millions of people to stay at home and turn to digital entertainment, including apps and games.

 

If you have app or game development skills, put them to good use by selling apps and games online.

 

There are 3 common payment models for apps and games:

 

  1. Free to download, pay to upgrade
    You provide free apps and games with basic features, then charge your users an occurring or one-time fee if they want to access certain ‘pro’ features.
  2. Pay to use
    You can charge users upfront before downloading your app or game.
  3. Loot box
    Your app or game is either free or pay to use, and users need to pay a fixed amount of money to buy a virtual treasure chest that gives random items to the player.

 

These are the trending app and game genres in 2021:

 

Apps

  • Team collaboration and communication
  • Education
  • Social video
  • Food delivery
  • Sleep

 

Games

  • Action role-playing game (RPG)
  • Real-time strategy
  • Fighting & martial arts
  • Puzzle
  • Platform & runner

 

 

11. Private label rights (PLR)

 

Private Label Rights (PLR)

 

Similar to selling your photograph, music, or video license to someone else, you can sell the license of your content in general.

 

Private Label Rights (PLR) means buyers can edit, brand, sell or give away your content as their own.

 

Content including courses, presentations, reports, ebooks, products, programs, or any form of content.

 

Say, you have written an article titled, “A Step By Step Guide To Repairing Your Credit”. You can sell this article as a PLR and the buyer has the full rights to the article. The buyer can publish it anywhere or change whatever they see fit.

 

The best part is that you can sell the same article to multiple buyers!

 

The following are the trending topics in PLR:

 

  • Video marketing
  • Repair credit
  • Personal branding
  • Emotional wellness
  • Coaching

 

 

How Can You Catch Trending Digital Products?

 

The digital market changes at an unprecedented speed, and online entrepreneurs need to keep a pulse on the market at all times if they want to stay competitive.

 

This means catching on to the trends and predicting what will be popular in the next few months to years.

 

Luckily, you don’t need to be a fortune-teller or astrologist to catch the trends before they take off.

 

The following are some of the free tools you can use to understand the trends in the digital market:

 

  1. Google Trends
    You can see the search volumes based on the keyword you provide on Google Trends. It’ll also show how much the search volumes have grown over time.
  2. Exploding Topics
    Exploding Topics shows you rapidly growing topics before they take off at least 6 months in advance.
  3. BuzzFeed
    Nothing beats BuzzFeed when it comes to trends. Go to its Trending section and you’ll see the most popular topics.
  4. YouTube Trending section
    YouTube has a trending feed that shows the most viewed videos.
  5. Google Search “trending [topic] in [year]”
    A simple Google search for the trending niches can also give you a good view too.

 

Gone are the days where becoming an entrepreneur has to do with opening a retail shop and selling physical goods. Right now, anyone with a laptop and internet can run an online business and sell digital products.

 

Once you know what you’re selling – you’ll need to set up a place to sell it. Check out our guide on how to start an eCommerce business, where we cover the best tools to build your online store.

 

With the right tools and knowledge, you can equip yourself with the know-hows and get started right away!

 

 

 

Tifa Ong

About The Author

Tifa Ong is a freelance copywriter who writes for coaches and business owners around the world. She’s passionate about enhancing all 5 dimensions of her well-being: physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual.