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Chances are right this second you’re within immediate vicinity of a child, teen or adult idly rotating a fidget spinner. These simple little toys are making a steady infiltration of the globe in astounding proportions that saw them take out 96 of the best selling 100 places in toys and games on Amazon in May, according to Forbes.
Having officially reached “viral” status they join a long list of weird and wonderful products providing a major boon for e-commerce. So let’s take a look at some more of the wild, whacky and improbable products that hit the list over recent years and what’s currently making the Amazon grade…
The hover board
Who could forget this massive craze that had us all quoting Marty McFly and heading back to the future courtesy of our ’80s past? The Hover Board was THE big Amazon hit of 2015 despite their penchant for occasionally catching fire and the slight drawback that they didn’t actually hover.
Small hiccups, we know, in a craze obsessed world where every celebrity had one and every teen (and adult) attempted to follow suit.
At their peak they were selling in droves, under all sorts of labels, with all sorts of claims. A single early review in July 2014 garnered 4.3 million visits Quartz Media states, and it was just a taste of things to come.
In the end Amazon banned their sale in early 2016 after 52 hover board fires were reported in 24 US states, causing $2 million in damage and destroying two home, according to Self.
Who’d have thought coloured rubber bands so similar to those securing orthodontic braces could cause such a furore? Well in 2014 they did, and made millionaires in the e-commerce realm courtesy of the loom band craze.
These small bands were everywhere, most often in Mom’s vacuum cleaner but not before every girl aged seven to 16 was swept up in the trend. They knitted them, made them into bracelets and adorned their besties in loom band love notes, while sellers in China and beyond laughed all the way to the bank.
In about 2013 drones hit the market in what many mistakenly assumed to be a brief and transient trend. Fast forward a few years and drones still continue to expand their sales, increasing by 224% from April 2015 to April 2016, according to Market Watch.
Right now a search for drones on Amazon returns almost 57,500 results, meaning this little craze is unlikely to subside any time soon. And with Amazon a proponent of drone product deliveries, the future of this hobby is in highly professional hands.
Many labeled them ugly, and argued no person above the age of 10 should be caught dead in them, but that hasn’t stopped Croc shoes from selling by the million.
In the 15 years since Crocs first appeared they’ve marched around the globe, with fresh, new incarnations of this popular footwear still taking out fourth position in the Clothing, Shoes and Jewelry best sellers list of Amazon. It just goes to show you should never let taste get in the way of a viral trend.
What’s hot right now?
Right about now there are all sorts if items climbing the bestseller list at Amazon, breaking the hearts of suppliers who knocked them back only months ago, while defying all sorts of professional predictions about what we want, need and will buy in 2017.
Whether they reach the stellar heights of hover boards, loom bands and fidget spinners, or achieve the longevity of drones and crocs is yet to be seen, but here’s just some of the strange items currently raking in the virtual cash…
The endoscope inspection camera snake
Oh yes, we’ve all been there, that engine that won’t start due to the gremlins we can’t find or that sore throat we can’t seem to pinpoint due to an ailment we can readily self diagnose.
Well to the rescue comes the android compatible inspection snake. Not sure whether to hit the buy button? Let us reveal more…this nifty little device USB endoscope simply plugs into your mobile device and you’re on the right path to revealing all sorts of mechanical and medical mysteries.
Bed head artist wave
If sleep won’t do your hairstyling trick, to the aid comes the Bed Head Artist Wave destined to give you a good looking bout of bed hair faster than you can say nighty night.
Mini Instax Fuji film
We’re heading back to the future again with this film that allows the selfie generation to instantly produce an image of themselves. Just when you’d pulled all your shares from film companies, the mini is an instantaneous narcissist’s dream. Designed for mini Polaroid cameras it lets users snap, print and instantly produce images to their hearts’ content.
Echo and Alexa
But Amazon isn’t all novelty, gadgets and gimmicks, it’s also a very real window into our oh so modern world. Holding first and second position in the electronics list is the Fire Stick TV Alexa Voice Remote and Echo Dot media streaming device. Both harness the power of the Internet of Things to make our homes just a little smarter in an ever increasing technological age.
How to pick a winner
Well let’s be frank, if we could accurately pick an incoming trend we’d be scouring Alibaba, posting items on Amazon and watching the cash roll in, not writing about it.
But in the words of an eight-year-old who made $500K courtesy of the loom band trend, “…trends can be found all around us”.
Pint-sized Pillar Newman told Web Retailer the key is timing, and a few essential resources like the Movers and Shakers list on Amazon along with their Best Sellers chart. Some astute contacts at Alibaba sure help but the reality is that latest trend might just be the weird, wonderful item your neighbour’s child recently acquired and won’t leave home without.
In the interim, folks keep your eyes peeled. It may not hover, it may not be fashionably esteemed, it may not even be anything other than an orthodontic accessory, but once it starts trending on Amazon there’s no telling when or if its success will peter out.