When the economy struggles, and people begin to pinch their their hard-earned pennies, there are some products that stand their ground amid turbulent times. While other products go stagnant in sales, there are a few great products that stand the test of time—and recession.
Using these products strategically in a strong business plan can be a solid way of ensuring your business survives a recession. Here, we’ll explore a few of the key products your business should carry during times of great economic distress. If you’re looking for other ways to give your business a strong foundation to survive a recession, check our this article about ways to successfully navigate your business through a recession.
While stocking in demand items during a recession is a great way to prevent a business failure during an economic downturn, it is important that this is done in an ethical way. Essential items such as water, toilet paper, or medical supplies and other items should be reasonably priced and available for those who need them.
Price gouging of any kind will inevitably hurt your business’s reputation. Worse of all, it will hurt people who really need those items. In this article, we will list 9 products that seem to sell best during a recession.
9 Products That Do Well In Recession
1. Comfort Food
When money is tight and stress levels are high, there is one thing that all people will always need: food. While all types of food are key to survival, many families spend any extra cash on comfort food, rather than vacations or luxury items, as a way to navigate economic hardship. Sales of ice-cream sales saw a surge of 25% during the 2008 recession.
Many of these comfort foods can be made in large quantities with few ingredients, which makes them even more tempting when you need to make your dollar stretch at the grocery store.
Whether it’s a bowl of chocolate ice cream at the end of a long day or everyone sitting around a roast and potatoes, there are certain comfort foods that will always bring people a sense of peace and help them to forget about the struggles around them for just a few moments.
2. Pet Care
With an estimated 85 million American families having at least one pet in their household, pet care products are essentials, which makes those products an excellent addition to your business if you want to ensure cash flow during a recession.
There are many products available to keep in stock, including necessities such as food and medications or luxuries such as comfy pet beds and unique toys.
Pet grooming items are another good item to keep in stock. Most pet owners take their animals to groomers in order to have their pets fur washed and cut and their nails clipped. When recessions hit, many owners opt to do the grooming themselves. Nail clippers, pet shampoo, and even pet dental care items are purchased by those who want their pets to look and feel good but cannot afford expensive groomers.
3. Coffee & Tea
There are many things that people will cut out when money is tight, but caffeine typically isn’t one of them! While they are looking for different ways to get it, you can use this as an opportunity to meet the customer where they are.
Finding a unique variety of coffees and teas at a price point that makes it feasible for people’s budgets can keep your business afloat during a recession. You want to keep the staple products in stock (because sometimes, when you’re under a lot of stress, you want something you know will hit the spot), but also add some fun varieties to set yourself apart from the competition.
Knowing that this is something your customers are splurging on to bring them joy and satisfaction will help you provide them with the best products available.
4. Home Improvements
Homeowners choose to make repairs and renovations to their homes themselves instead of paying contractors during a recession. During a recession, supplies are less expensive and there is less work for contractors (therefore less competition).
There is also the factor that many people are spending a lot more time in their homes and want to make it more comfortable and efficient for themselves and their families.
Simple projects like a fresh coat of paint, finishing areas that you have been putting off, and doing small remodels in high-traffic areas like the kitchen, bathroom, or living rooms can benefit your mental health and financial health in the future.
5. Inexpensive Entertainment
When you focus more on the bare necessities, it can be easy to try and write off all extras but at the end of the day, entertainment still accounts for a large portion of economic spending.
Identifying entertainment that doesn’t have any additional costs, or allows some good family fun for relatively inexpensive prices, will attract customers. Focus on areas that can help people enjoy the life they already have, with products that aid in outdoor entertainment, camping, fishing, and backyard scavenger hunts, with products such as bug-catching equipment, sleeping bags, marshmallow roasting sticks, firepits, outdoor movie screens and projectors, and more.
Any product that allows families to enjoy quiet time at home can be appealing—especially for families who are itching to travel, but may not be able to justify spending big bucks on travel costs. Including products that can entertain multiple people at one time is a smart investment, with ideal products including board games, puzzles, books, or home movies.
6. Personal Care Products
While many discount and warehouse-type stores can really thrive when offering personal care products during a recession, as people prioritize only purchasing the basics at the lowest price possible. Ensure that your business is stocked with quality products that fulfill a customer’s basic needs, so your clientele feels that their money is well spent at your business.
During a recession, many families may start seeking out personal care products that they can use at home, such as hair dye, nail polish, and cleaning supplies instead of getting their hair done at a local salon, getting their nails done, or hiring a professional cleaner.
7. Automotive Parts
One of the top recession-proof business categories, is the automotive parts and maintenance industry. Whether the economy is booming or struggling, people will always need to fix their cars when they break down. Some consumers may choose to pursue cheaper brands or put off maintenance, but at the end of the day, many still have to drive their cars and so they will also need parts and supplies for upkeep.
If you choose to offer more automotive-related products, your goal is to give your customers the highest-quality product with the most affordable price tag that still keeps your business in the green.
Another great option for the automotive part product industry would be to offer a service with your products without an extra cost. Consider adding battery testing, or replace windshield wipers, when a customer pays for a service such as an oil change.
Cosmetics are another item that, while people might cut back on their overall spending or find new ways to pamper themselves, they aren’t going to want to completely cut these products out of their lives as it can bring them a little bit of self-confidence and joy in some otherwise depressing moments.
A few products you can keep on hand that won’t put you or your customer out a lot of money are face masks, lotions, foot soaks, and nail polish. These might seem like small pieces in the bigger puzzle, but they can bring a sense of calm and normalcy to people when they really need it.
When it comes to slightly more expensive products like make-up and perfumes, it’s good to keep a range of prices so that your customer feels like they are getting the best bang for their buck.
Since these are products repeat purchases, this is a great opportunity to build loyalty programs to show them that you value their continued business.
People will obviously need clothing whether the economy is in a recession or not. The key here is that they will be looking for more creative ways to get more use out of pieces, and they might need different pieces in their everyday wardrobes if they are no longer going to the office every day and parties every weekend.
Fashion resale and overstock businesses can really thrive in this type of economic environment. Customers who truly care about the tag sewn inside want to ensure they are getting a good deal to let go of their hard-earned money.
Finding creative and unique ways to market your clothing as something that customers can use in multiple ways is another great way to catch their eye. Keeping pieces in stock that can be dressed up, dressed down, and used to piece together multiple outfits is a great strategy to go with.
The truth is that no business is completely immune to the affects of a recession, and some businesses do worse during a recession than others. But there are definitely certain products that consumers will always need to purchase. Selling these products in a fair and ethical manner will give you the best chance at surviving a recession by building a loyal customer base that trusts that you have their best interest at heart.
If you still haven’t started your business due to recession fears, check out our article on the top recession-proof businesses.
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