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Ecommerce platform guide

Is Etsy Print-on-Demand Profitable in 2024?

Is Etsy Print-on-Demand Profitable in 2024?
Ronja Burve

By Ronja Burve

10 min read

Do you want to start an Etsy store in 2024? Or maybe you want to add Etsy as a new sales channel to your print-on-demand business? Either way, you’ve come to the right place.

Before starting a new online business, you might want to know—is Etsy print-on-demand profitable? The short answer is yes.

The global marketplace reached 90M active buyers in 2023—the size of California and Texas populations combined! For you as an online seller, that means an opportunity to tap into Etsy’s vast customer base.

With the platform growing, it also means fiercer competition. That’s why, in this article, we’ll explore how to calculate your Etsy profit margins and improve your efforts to generate sales.

Let’s get started!

Can I do print-on-demand on Etsy?

Selling print-on-demand products is allowed on Etsy. Just make sure your designs are original and clearly state that they’re made and shipped by your print-on-demand partner in your listings, as per Etsy’s policies.

Is Etsy print-on-demand profitable?

Making money on Etsy with print-on-demand is definitely possible. Profitability depends on your design originality, product quality, and marketing efforts. You can boost your profit margins by managing costs, optimizing your SEO, and investing in advertising.

Calculating Etsy print-on-demand profitability

Here’s how print-on-demand dropshipping works: you create designs for your products and manage your Etsy store while your print-on-demand partner handles fulfillment and delivery.

To set your retail prices in a way that ensures profitability, you need to consider production costs, Etsy fees, and any other expenses you might have. The goal is to cover your costs and ensure a healthy profit while also remaining competitive and appealing to Etsy shoppers.

1. Production costs

The first step in assessing your business’ profitability is considering production costs. These include all the costs involved in making your products. Here’s what to consider:

Product base price: This is the amount you pay for the blank product before any design is added, and it varies depending on the type of product you’re selling.

Fulfillment costs: These cover adding your design to the product. Depending on your print-on-demand partner and fulfillment technique (e.g., printing or embroidery), this cost can vary widely. The design placement will also affect the cost. For example, if you place multiple designs on the same item, it’ll cost extra.

Packaging: Packaging might seem like a small detail, but it can add up. Your print-on-demand provider might already include packaging costs, but if you’re going for something custom, this will be an additional expense.

Beyond direct production costs, there are other types of expenses you need to keep in mind:

Salaries: If you have anyone helping with your shop, like creating designs, providing customer service, or managing administration tasks, their salaries are a part of your business expenses.

Marketing: Getting your products in front of the right customers requires effective marketing. This could mean spending on ads, social media promotion, or email marketing campaigns.

Read also: Is Print-on-Demand Profitable? Insights for Dropshippers

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2. Etsy fees

Etsy charges several types of fees that you need to factor into your pricing and profitability calculations:

  1. Listing fees: Etsy charges a fixed $0.20 fee for each product you put up for sale. This fee is applied whether or not the item sells. An Etsy listing expires in 4 months, which is when you need to renew it for another $0.20.

  2. Transaction fees: When you make a sale, Etsy takes 6.5% of the total sale price, including the shipping cost you set.

  3. Payment processing fees: These fees cover the cost of processing payments. They’re charged on each transaction and vary by country. In the US, it’s 3% of the sale price + $0.25.

Aside from these fees, you might face additional costs depending on how you run your business and where you’re located. Let’s take a closer look at some of them and how they could affect your profitability on Etsy.

  1. Currency conversion fees: If you’re selling in a currency different from the one set in your payment account, Etsy charges a fee to convert your earnings.

  2. Advertising fees: If you choose to use Etsy’s advertising services to promote your products, you’ll incur additional costs based on the advertising model you select.

3. Average profit margins

Now that you know what expenses are involved in production, let’s consider how much profit you can make.

Your profit margins depend on factors such as your niche, product types, and what potential customers are willing to pay. Here’s how to calculate your average profit margins.

Start with market research. Investigate what similar sellers in your niche and region are charging. Staying competitive is crucial, but so is understanding the value you offer. For example, if your designs are especially impressive or you’re using higher-quality materials, customers might be willing to pay a premium.

Your profit is the difference between your selling price and your costs. For example, if you sell a custom-designed notebook for $20 and your total costs (including the notebook cost, printing, Etsy fees, and any other expenses) are $12, your profit is $8.

To calculate your profit margin percentage, divide your profit by the selling price, then multiply by 100. In the notebook example: ($8 profit / $20 selling price) x 100 = 40% profit margin.

You can also calculate your profit margins with our free Etsy fees and profit calculator.

Remember, offering additional value can justify higher prices. Maybe you’re selling custom t-shirts made of eco-friendly materials or offer personalization options others don’t. This unique selling proposition can make your items more desirable and allow you to price them higher, potentially increasing your profit margins.

There’s no universal profit margin for Etsy sellers—it all depends on how you position your products, control your costs, and appeal to your target market. By carefully pricing your products and managing expenses, you can work toward healthy profit margins.

a person holding a pencil and a notebookSource: Unsplash

8 tips for maximizing Etsy print-on-demand profits

Now that you know how to calculate your profitability, let’s review some strategies to increase your chances of success.

1. Craft a compelling shop profile

Your Etsy shop profile is often the first point of interaction with customers. It’s your chance to introduce yourself and your brand, showing customers what they can expect.

A complete shop profile also makes your store look professional and trustworthy. So take the time to craft a fitting logo, add an engaging store banner, write a compelling About section, and fill out your store’s policies.

Pro tip: Include a detailed About section, sharing your story, the inspiration behind your print-on-demand products, and why you decided to start selling on Etsy. This adds a personal touch and can help build a connection with your audience. It also helps attract the right customers—those who align with your brand values.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: EsdeeDesigns

2. Add high-quality images and videos

The quality of your product images can make a big difference for your Etsy store. Sharp, well-lit photos allow customers to see exactly what they’re getting, making them more eager to buy.

If you’re not a photography expert, there’s an easy solution. Use Printful’s Mockup Generator to create high-quality mockups. This way, you get consistent, eye-catching images for all your print-on-demand products without any equipment.

Don’t overlook adding videos to your listings. A simple video showing your product in action can give customers a better feel for what you’re selling, making your Etsy business stand out.

a woman holding a tie dye shirtSource: Printful

Focusing on trending products can be a smart move to boost sales. Staying on top of what’s popular means you’re meeting customers’ current interests and demands. For example, if eco-friendly tote bags or personalized phone cases are all the rage, consider adding these to your print-on-demand shop.

Doing a bit of homework helps. Keep an eye on market trends, social media, and Etsy’s trend reports to see what shoppers are buzzing about. Also, listen to feedback from your customers about what they’re looking for.

Offering in-demand products increases your chances of sales and helps establish your shop as a go-to place for the latest must-haves. Just remember to keep your authentic twist on things to stand out in the bustling Etsy marketplace.

Pro tip: To see what’s trending on Etsy, you can use eRank—a free tool that allows you to explore top keywords and most searched items on the platform, as well as optimize your Etsy listings.

a screenshot of a computerSource: eRank

4. Offer product personalization

The option to personalize products can make your store more attractive. Customers love buying items they can make their own, whether they do it by adding a name or a custom message.

Customization allows buyers to order personalized products for gifts or special occasions, setting your shop apart and potentially increasing your sales.

You can make your products customizable with Printful’s Product Personalization Tool. It lets your customers personalize their picks right before purchase with minimal effort on your part. Just note that you’ll need to add the custom details to the product before it can be shipped to the customer.

preview play-button

5. Leverage search engine optimization (SEO)

Use Etsy SEO best practices by including relevant keywords in your product titles, descriptions, and tags. This improves visibility and ensures that your Etsy listings resonate with your target market.

Clear, concise descriptions that highlight the standout features and benefits of your customized products can significantly impact buyer decisions.

A key part of Etsy SEO is using the right tags. Etsy tags are keywords or phrases that describe your item, such as your product’s shape, color, and material. Think of them as terms potential customers might type into the search bar when looking for products like yours. By using relevant tags for each listing, you help Etsy’s search algorithm understand what you’re selling and match your products with the right buyers.

a screenshot of a computerSource: Etsy

6. Market your store

Marketing your Etsy store is crucial for drawing in customers and bringing in sales.

Start by identifying your ideal customers and where they spend their time online. This will guide your marketing efforts and help you reach the right audience.

Social media is a powerful tool for this. Platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook help you showcase your products and share behind-the-scenes content about your design process or new product launches. Use high-quality images and engage with your followers by responding to comments and messages.

Email marketing is another effective strategy. Collect email addresses from your customers (with their permission) and send them updates about new products, special offers, or exclusive discounts. This keeps your shop top of mind and encourages repeat business.

Lastly, consider paid advertising. Etsy offers its own advertising solutions, and you can also explore ads on social media platforms. Even a small budget can increase your shop’s visibility and attract new customers.

Marketing is about trial and error, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different strategies to see what works best for your Etsy print-on-demand business.

a woman shouting into a megaphoneSource: Pexels

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7. Offer discounts and promotions

Special offers encourage larger orders, increase sales, and keep customers coming back to your online business. Creating time-sensitive deals adds urgency, nudging customers to make a purchase.

Use social media, email, or ad campaigns to spread the word. Make your offers irresistible, prompting both new and returning customers to take advantage of them.

a red gift box with a bow and tagsSource: Unsplash

8. Provide excellent customer service

Good customer service is crucial for your Etsy shop’s success. It can lead to positive reviews, repeat customers, and even the coveted Star Seller badge—a mark of trust and quality.

Responding to customer questions quickly, resolving any issues, and delivering orders on time contribute to customer satisfaction. It also helps you become a Star Seller.

The Star Seller badge signals to potential customers that your business is reliable and offers an excellent customer experience. It can increase your visibility on the Etsy platform, attract more traffic to your shop, and drive more sales.

a woman holding a bag of clothesSource: Printful

Time to launch your Etsy print-on-demand store

Becoming a successful Etsy seller isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. While there’s the potential to get your custom products in front of millions of Etsy shoppers, there’s also a lot of competition.

Take time to differentiate your store to attract the right audience to your Etsy shop. While there are countless Etsy sellers, your designs will be uniquely yours.

Plus, with print-on-demand, you get to focus on creating designs and running your store while your print-on-demand provider handles the rest. And since you don’t have to keep physical inventory or worry about unsold stock, you’re free to experiment with different product ideas and designs without financial risk.

Give it a try, and with time and dedication, your Etsy store can become a profitable business. Good luck!

Read next: How to Make Money on Etsy: A Beginner-Friendly Guide


By Ronja Burve on Apr 8, 2024

Ronja Burve

Content Writer

Ronja is a Content Writer at Printful. With a degree in performing arts, she’s passionate about all things creative. Currently, she’s expanding her expertise in marketing while pursuing an MA in creative industries.

Ronja is a Content Writer at Printful. With a degree in performing arts, she’s passionate about all things creative. Currently, she’s expanding her expertise in marketing while pursuing an MA in creative industries.