Top 30 Import and Export Business Ideas in 2024 

The world is becoming increasingly interconnected, and countries can easily exchange goods and services, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to profit through import-export activities.

If you are looking for a quick way to make money or are an investor trying to build up your assets, this article is for you.

Fasten your seatbelts as I walk you through the top 30 import and export business ideas in 2024 that are ideal for establishing a business or growing your financial portfolio.

Understanding Import and Export Business

Before we begin, let’s take a moment to understand what the import and export business is and all it comprises.

The import and export business is a global marketplace where entrepreneurs sell their products and services across national boundaries. For instance, a company in the US producing high-quality electronic devices may decide to expand its reach to users in Europe, thus exporting its product.

As simple as it sounds, it requires navigating through some difficulties. Below are some factors worth considering before pursuing your import and export business ideas.

Read Also: Top 12 Simple Product Ideas for Startup Entrepreneurs

Factors to be Considered Before Starting up Your Import and Export Business

1. Tariffs

Taiffs are taxes or duties a country’s government imposes on imported or exported products. It varies by country and quality of goods.

A continuous knowledge of the tariff is vital to a thriving import and export business, as it affects the product’s market pricing. You would want your product to be affordable.

2. Logistics and Transportation

The movement of your goods in and out of your country is also significant. Finding a reliable transport company may be challenging, mainly if you deal with perishable or time-sensitive goods, but minimizing cost goes a long way.

3. Customs Regulations

Customs regulations, just like tariffs, vary among countries. Ensuring documentation, tariff compliance, and import/export restrictions is crucial for avoiding penalties and delays that may lead to losses in your business.

4. Currency Fluctuation 

Currency fluctuations could affect your profitability. Negotiating favorable payment methods with suppliers and customers is essential to mitigate the financial losses related to currency fluctuations. 

5. Language Entry Barrier 

Doing business in another country requires understanding the culture and norms of the country and building relationships with local partners. If your business involves countries that do not speak your language, consider hiring translational services.

Top 30 Import and Export Ideas in 2024 

Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty. Here are the top 30 import and export ideas you can explore in 2024.

1. Dropshipping

Dropshipping is one of the most appealing import and export business ideas. While it involves buying and selling, it doesn’t require you to have physical products or a shop and is not geographically limited. 

You can collect orders with your prices and transfer them to your supplier after taking out your gain.

Read Also: Dropshipping for Beginners: Meaning of Dropshipping and How to Start a Lucrative Dropshipping Business in Africa

2. Import/Export Brokerage

Import/export brokerage involves acting as a middleman between importers and exporters and facilitating their transactions. As an import/export broker, you will be a facilitator between both parties and charge a commission for brokering. 

An exciting part of import/export brokerage is that it does not require you to buy and sell products or services directly. However, you will need a thorough understanding of import/export law concepts, currency transactions, and trade policy to excel in this venture.

3. Product Sourcing Agent

A product sourcing agent helps individuals and companies find products in another country. Companies in need of products, such as raw materials available in other countries, hire the services of a product sourcing agent.

4. Used Car Importation

With the increase in the middle-class population and disposable cash in Africa, people demand used cars in sub-Saharan African countries like Nigeria. The increased demand for used vehicles makes importing used cars to these countries one of the best import and export business ideas you can try out. 

5. Online Export/Import Directory

Creating and selling a directory that contains information about worldwide manufacturers, wholesalers, and agents who want to expand into other countries can make you rich. The target market is the hundreds of investors who are constantly looking for business and investment opportunities to jump on.

6. Agro-Products Exportation

Despite continuously exporting raw materials from countries like Nigeria, Brazil, and the USA, the supply of these raw materials never meets their demands. Agro-products such as cocoa, kola nuts, bitter kola, groundnuts, and cassava flakes are great to import and export. 

7. Beauty Products Importation 

Personal care products such as makeup, moisturizers, body lotions, and body butter always stay young because they are usually in high demand, especially among females. Though they are expensive at malls, you can import them at cheaper prices and resell them for a considerable profit. 

8. Clothing Importation 

Another product that tops the chart for the import and export business ideas is clothing importation. Clothing is a basic human need. Consequently, people will keep growing and buying clothes, no matter how hard the economy becomes. People living in the diaspora usually desire to wear the latest designs from their home country. 

Moreover, there’s a growing demand for used clothes in developing countries. As the economy gets more challenging and the need for clothing remains, people resolve to buy cheaper, used clothes. Selling used clothes can be lucrative in such countries, making it an import and export business idea because the market still needs to be saturated.

9. Smartphones Importation 

With the current rate of technological advancement, smartphones are becoming an unavoidable human need. Third-world countries that are not technologically advanced depend on developed countries like China, Japan, and the US for smartphones. 

Finding a good supplier of smartphones and importing them to these developing countries can earn you a fortune.

10. Used Electronics Importation 

Electronic gadgets, just like smartphones, are essential commodities for surviving in today’s technological world. Importing these gadgets and appliances can be very lucrative, as their demand is high. As tech companies keep upgrading and releasing new devices, the demand for newer versions keeps the market booming.

11. Shipping Services 

As more and more online shopping platforms spring up, the demand for shipping services increases, too. These online shops seek shipping services that offer speed, convenience, and reliability at a reasonable price.

12. Logistics Specialist 

Being a logistics specialist is one of the import and export business ideas that does not require you to buy import/export products directly. All you need to do as a logistics specialist is to optimize the supply chain industry and manage companies’ imports, exports, warehousing, and distribution. 

Read Also: How to Start a Logistics and Supply Chain Management Business in Africa

13. Leather Importation/Exportation 

Leather products like sandals, bags, hats, and purses depend on leather production. Leather is a product of animal skin from cattle and goats. Leather products are highly a good revenue for making money for sellers. 

Obtaining leather from countries with abundant cattle and exporting it to other countries presents significant business opportunities. 

14. Cassava Flour Exportation 

Cassava flour is a very close substitute for yam flour and plantain flour. Cassava flour is fast, easy to prepare, and popular. Cassava, the raw material for cassava flour, is rich in supply in countries such as Nigeria, while Europe and America are good marketplaces for this product.

15. Gum Arabic Exportation 

Another profitable import and export idea you need to check out is the exportation of gum arabic. Gum Arabic, a product obtained from the Acacia tree, is of the highest quality and serves as a raw material for food and pharmaceutical companies. Exporting this product helps meet the demands of companies that require it.

16. Perfume Importation 

Perfume importation can be lucrative if you are interested in the fragrance industry. There is a worldwide demand for good perfume, whether affordable or expensive. You can become an importer of assorted perfumes if you find an excellent supplier to partner with. Meeting a worldwide demand will, of course, cause your pocket to fatten.

17. Pure Honey Exportation 

For a natural product enthusiast, pure honey exportation presents a lucrative means of earning money. People worldwide love honey and are willing to pay for it. You can profit from exporting pure honey to countries where honey is in high demand but unavailable. 

18. Shrimp Exportation 

Everyone loves shrimp, even though it is so cost-effective. Some tropical countries, such as Nigeria, are rich with organic deposits of shrimp and serve as sources of this globally demanded food. You can begin importing and exporting shrimp to countries that do not have them. 

Possible target markets for sales include Belgium, Portugal, Spain, France, and the USA.

19. Toys and Children’s Product Importation 

The world never runs out of children; babies are being brought into this world, and the best part is that they always need something to play with. Consequently, the importation of children’s products will always stay on the market. 

Finding the best supplier and importing these products for retail sales would undoubtedly fetch you a fortune.

20. Kitchenware Importation 

One of the accessible import and export business ideas is kitchenware and cookware importation. Selling kitchen equipment can provide a stable income for business people. 

Kitchenware is an essential item in every home and encompasses various products. It frequently undergoes wear and tear, which requires replacement. For example, you can choose to focus on a particular market segment, like professional chefs, and earn from them. 

21. Health and Wellness Products Importation

The global interest in health and wellness practices and products has opened up lucrative business opportunities for health and wellness sellers. 

People are searching for products, like supplements, that support their emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Importing and exporting health and wellness products is among the best import and export business ideas worth considering.

22. Importing Handmade Jewelry 

People who value authenticity and elegance have created a growing market for artisanal products. You can tap into this opportunity by importing handmade jewelry. 

You can build a stable jewelry business by finding reliable suppliers to import handmade jewelry at a very affordable price, and then you sell at a reasonable price where you’ll only be making gains.

23. Exporting Musical Instruments 

Music talents are everywhere and will always keep making music since music lovers will always exist. Exporting and importing musical instruments is a lucrative business idea. 

For a start, you can partner with music schools and institutions, find their instrument spark, supply them, and make money.

24. Importing Handcrafted Ceramics 

Handcrafted ceramics are special products as they reveal unique styles and cultural diversity. Just like handmade jewelry, people who value the authenticity and originality of handcrafted ceramics are the perfect target market for you. 

Read Also: 50 Small Business Ideas to Start with Less Than $100 in Africa

25. Importing Luxury Watches 

Beyond telling time, luxury watches are symbols of elegance and prestige. It has a universal appeal and is in global demand. Launching a business that entails the importation of luxury watches can make you a fortune.

26. Importing Designer Clothes 

Designer clothes, like luxury watches, are more than fabric and thread. In fashion, designer clothes personify creativity, elegance, and self-expression. Import designer clothes to satisfy the needs of fashion enthusiasts around the world.

27. Auto Spare Parts Export 

The automotive sector depends on auto spare parts to repair and maintain auto motors, creating an endless demand for them. Third-world countries that rely on developed countries for auto motors also rely on them for spare parts, which already provides a target market for you if you decide to start an auto spare parts business. 

28. Timber Export 

Furniture companies depend heavily on timber as a raw material for production. The demand for timber increases with the increase in global population and urbanization. Developing countries have a vast expanse of forests and are great timber suppliers.

29. Animal Feed Export 

With the increase in global meat consumption, the demand for animal feed to support livestock production keeps rising. The constant global demand for animal feed creates an opportunity for entrepreneurs to launch in the worldwide market and make a living by meeting the needs of farmers and livestock producers.

30. Crude Oil Import and Export 

Crude oil presents a compelling import-and-export business idea for entrepreneurs. Many nations depend on crude oil products to run their everyday activities. The demand for crude oil keeps rising, from powering vehicles to producing cosmetics to energy generation

Entrepreneurs can capitalize on this demand and make a good living by importing and exporting crude oil.

Choosing the Best Import and Export Business Idea for You

After going through this list of innovative import and export business ideas, you are expected to be unsure of which to go for, depending on your time and resources.

Here are some guidelines to help you streamline your choices and bring you to the final, most convenient idea.

  • Research the product of interest
  • Check for available suppliers
  • Evaluate the start-up cost
  • Compare the start-up cost to the potential profit
  • Conduct a competitor analysis
  • Carryout market trend analysis
  • Finally, decide if you can handle the business effectively.

Read Also: How to Identify and Manage Business Risks in Africa


Starting up an import and export business absolutely depends on what works for you as well as your passion. This article has identified and simplified 30 import and export business ideas you can easily venture into. 

Therefore, do well to examine the criteria and requirements for each business and follow the guidelines, and soon, your import or export business will be a breeze for you, bringing you the fortune you desire.


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Margaret Oragwu
Margaret Oragwu
Margaret is a skilled content marketer/writer who has over a year of experience working as a content strategist, producing creative SEO optimized content to boost visibility and sales for various companies.

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