The world of ecommerce and print-on-demand is booming. Even during the uncertainty of the last few years, the ecommerce industry went from strength to strength. As a result, the industry is bigger than ever in 2023.
In this blog post, we’ve put together the latest print-on-demand industry data, trends, and predictions. Use this key information to power your marketing and business growth for the ongoing year. Here’s what we’ll cover:
Print-on-demand and related industry growth trends
Printful’s company updates
Sound good? Let’s jump right in!
Print-on-demand is expected to grow significantly over the next decade. In 2022, the global print-on-demand market was valued at $5.397 billion. It’s projected to reach $39.035 billion by 2031. That’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 26.2%.
North America is currently the largest market for print-on-demand, with the United States being home to some of the most profitable print-on-demand companies in the world, including Printful and Zazzle. More companies, like Redbubble and Gelato, have fulfillment centers in the region as well.
While North America remains the leader in the market, other regions are picking up speed. In fact, the Asia Pacific region is expected to have the most significant growth in the print-on-demand market over the next few years, with a projected CAGR of 27.9% from 2020 to 2030.
While other industries stumbled during the pandemic, print-on-demand was getting record-high interest. Here are some of the factors that have contributed to that.
First, there’s a growing demand for personalized and one-of-a-kind products. In fact, a lot of consumers (36%) are expecting some form of personalization by default and would even be ready to wait longer for customized products (48%). Since print-on-demand products are made to order with no minimums, even an order of a single product with a specific design can be fulfilled. This opens the door to satisfying a demand for personalization while still remaining profitable.
Another factor is the shift from traditional retail to ecommerce. COVID-19 forced us all to adopt new habits, and online shopping is one that is here to stay even in the post-pandemic world. In 2021, the ecommerce share of global retail sales amounted to 18.8%. In 2022, it grew to 19.7%, and is predicted to reach 24% by 2026. That’s an increase of almost 6% in just 4 years.
Sustainability and the demand for eco-friendly products is another key factor. In a 2021 survey, 27% of respondents said that, in the last 12 months, they tried out a new product for sustainability reasons and 25% spent more on sustainable fashion. Currently, 73% of millennials say they are willing to pay more for sustainable brands, and the eco-friendly clothing segment is projected to grow to $1.57 billion in global annual sales by 2025.
Print-on-demand has become the sustainable alternative to fast fashion—products are made only once they’re ordered, meaning fewer items go unsold and end up as waste.
There are more factors, including the rapidly-changing fashion trends, increasing purchasing capability, and new printing technology development. But for now, let’s turn our focus to the core of this blog post—print-on-demand statistics.
Read on to discover the latest print-on-demand industry trends and predictions, as well as stats on digital textile printing, dropshipping, home decor, and t-shirt printing.
The digital printing industry started in 1993 and grew exponentially to $187.7 billion in 2018, just 25 years later. (ComCap)
From 2017 to 2020, the print-on-demand apparel industry grew at a compound annual growth rate of 12%. (ComCap)
Search interest for the term print-on-demand rose dramatically at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. In 2023, it remains way above the pre-pandemic level and has started growing faster since December 2021. The fact that the interest remains significantly above pre-pandemic levels 3 years later indicates that print-on-demand has sustained its popularity and relevance even after the initial surge of interest. (Ahrefs)
Source: Google Trends
Custom stickers are among the most searched for print-on-demand items. The highest point of search interest for print-on-demand custom stickers was in July 2020, indicating a surge in demand during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the interest level has since dropped, it still remains above pre-pandemic levels. (Ahrefs)
The top trending print-on-demand products in 2023 are hoodies, sportswear, premium t-shirts, eco-friendly products, hats, stationery, wall art, phone cases, drinkware, and bags. (Printful)
The home decor segment is expected to experience the highest growth rate in the print-on-demand industry at a CAGR of 27.7% from 2022 to 2032. (Market Decipher)
Products decorated with photographs are widely used by individual customers as personalized gifts. The US holds the largest market share of about 39%, while Europe comes in next with about 28%. (GlobeNewswire)
1 out of 5 customers is willing to pay up to 20% extra for personalized products and services. (ComCap)
COVID-19 didn’t leave any person or industry unchanged. It forced us to adapt to a new way of life in the face of personal and professional uncertainties.
One of the ways people tried to increase their financial security was by starting a side hustle. In 2020, new business creation in the US rose by 42%. And due to the unfortunate massive layoffs during the pandemic, as many as 56% of Americans expressed that they felt safer when working for themselves instead of having a traditional job.
In 2020, 34% of Americans had a side hustle. In 2022, the number jumped to 40%. When it comes to demographics, side hustles are the most popular among younger generations (Gen Z and Millenials).
Another growing trend is the use of automation in running a side hustle. Around 65% of Americans who have a side hustle use automation in their business. Almost half of them (48%) rely on it for at least half of their business operations. In fact, about 14% of them rely on automation for all of their business processes.
This shift towards owning your own business instead of working for someone else had a huge impact on the print-on-demand industry. Why did it become so popular? Print-on-demand makes setting up a fully functioning business fast and easy. With a design or a design idea, you can have products ready for sale in a matter of a short lunch break. And what’s really important—you can set up your store from the safety of your own home.
Historically, screen printing has been the preferred technique. However, over the last few years, there’s been a shift toward digital printing because of its affordability and little to no order minimum requirements. (ComCap)
The crucial advantages of digital printing are the sharpness and high-quality nature of the prints, as well as reduced operational costs due to lower consumption of resources. (Fortune Business Insights)
In 2021, the US digital textile printing market alone was estimated at $340.2 million. (Business Wire)
The global digital textile printing market as a whole is projected to grow at a CAGR of 14.4% from 2023 to 2030. (Grand View Research)
The key driving factors of market growth are increased demand for sustainable printing, rapidly changing fashion trends, more purchasing capability, decreased per unit printing cost, the trend towards automation, as well as new technologies being developed in the textile industry. (Mordor Intelligence, Business Wire, Allied Market Research)
The digital textile printing market is also positively influenced by a shift towards apparel with customized prints, and increased interest in recycled textiles. (Allied Market Research)
From a sustainability standpoint, digital printing technology reduces the consumption of water by nearly 90% and lowers the electric consumption by nearly 30%. (Fortune Business Insights)
The four main segments of the digital textile printing market are clothing/apparel, home decor, soft signage, and industrial. In 2022, the clothing/apparel segment accounted for over 53% of the market share. (Grand View Research)
The digital textile printing market is also affected by the growing wholesale garment prices. The prices have significantly increased in response to the rising costs of raw materials, including cotton, polyester, bamboo, and rayon, which saw an increase of 50% in 2021. (Credence Research)
The fastest-growing digital textile printing market by region is the Asia Pacific, followed by North America and Europe. (Mordor Intelligence)
In 2021, China was the top ranked global textile exporter with a value of approximately $146 billion. China’s export figures translate to almost 41.4% of the total textile export market worldwide. (Statista)
In December 2022, approximately 3.47 billion meters of clothing fabric were produced in China. (Statista)
China is forecast to reach a projected digital textile printing market size of $396.9 million by 2026 with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 13.7%. (Business Wire)
Japan and Canada’s digital textile printing markets are forecast to grow at 7.5% and 11% respectively by 2026, while the German market is expected to grow at approximately 8.3% CAGR. (Business Wire)
By 2030, the global market value of the digital textile printing industry is expected to be $7.9 billion. (Allied Market Research)
New technologies like gel printing are positively impacting the innovation of the industry. In 2021, Canon launched a new gel printer that offers companies operating in the large format market access to all advantages of UV gel technology at a lower investment. (Mordor Intelligence)
In 2021, the sublimation segment held the largest share of the market, and it’s predicted to increase its market share to over 53% by 2030. Furthermore, sublimation ink is projected to experience the most rapid growth among ink types during the forecast period. (Globe Newswire)
In 2021, cotton dominated the US digital textile printing market as the most commonly utilized material, representing over 52% of the market share. However, polyester is anticipated to experience the most rapid growth with a CAGR of 12.9%. (Globe Newswire)
Source: Grand View Research
Web-to-print is a business model that has been gaining traction. It involves selling printed products through an online platform. (Booklets Print)
Also known as online printing, this industry has grown exponentially since the development of ecommerce and digital payment solutions. (Booklets Print)
In 2021, the global web-to-print software market size was $1.187 billion. (Business Research Insights)
The growth rate of the global web-to-print market is 7.4%, with an estimated value of $1.968 billion in 2028. (Business Research Insights)
The global home decor market reached $682 billion in 2021. (Imarc Group)
Throughout 2022, the interest in custom wall art remained strong, reaching its peak in December 2022. (Google Trends)
Source: Google Trends
The home decor industry is projected to continue to grow at a CAGR of 4.8% during the 2022-2027 period, reaching $898.3 billion by 2027. (Imarc Group)
The global wall decor market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 3.5% from 2023 to 2030. (Globe Newswire)
Home furniture has the largest home decor market share by product type, followed by home textiles, flooring, wall decor, and lighting. (Imarc Group)
The key driver of the wall decor market is the increasing introduction of premium products. (Business Wire)
In the US, the home decor market has been on the rise due to the growing number of individuals owning homes in the country. (Mordor Intelligence)
North America holds the largest market share for wall decorations, accounting for over 40% of the total market revenue globally. (Globe Newswire)
The wall art segment has the largest share (75%) of the wall decor market in the US. (Business Wire)
One of the top wall decor trends in the US is the increased demand for personalized and customized wall decor. (PR Newswire)
The wall decor and wall covering market is also experiencing growing interest for textured wall coverings, like grass cloth wallpaper, as well as other textures, such as natural woods, boiled wool, canvas, and mohair. (Mordor Intelligence)
Textile-based wall decor makes up more than 25% of the market. (Globe Newswire)
Wall stickers will hold a significant market share in terms of product type, with a CAGR of over 2.4%. This is likely due to the fact that wall stickers are less expensive compared to other options. (Globe Newswire)
Source: Grand View Research
Custom-designed t-shirts are becoming increasingly popular among companies, especially start-ups, for branding purposes. Personalized t-shirts are also being used for promoting movies, events, and sports teams and leagues, among other things. (Grand View Research, Credence Research)
The entertainment industry makes a major contribution to t-shirt industry growth, especially with movie merchandise. (Grand View Research)
There’s an increase in the use of custom printed t-shirts to create social awareness, raise a voice, and support a cause. (Grand View Research)
The artwork segment of the custom t-shirt printing market is forecasted to show the highest CAGR of 11.6% from 2023 to 2030. This growth is attributed to the increasing customer preference for using t-shirts or other apparel as a means of promoting a cause or conveying a message. (Grand View Research)
In 2022, the screen-printing segment of the t-shirt industry held the highest revenue share of more than 56%. (Grand View Research)
Source: Grand View Research
For the custom t-shirt printing market, the graphic design shirts segment held the greatest share in 2022 with over 57%. (Grand View Research)
Asia Pacific dominated the custom t-shirt printing market in 2022 and accounted for over 38% of the global revenue share. (Grand View Research)
The largest growth drivers of the global t-shirt printing market in the foreseeable future will be European and Asia Pacific markets. (Credence Research)
The 5 major countries in the global custom t-shirt printing market are the US, Canada, UK, Germany, and Spain. (Credence Research)
The top 5 countries for t-shirt exports are China, Bangladesh, Germany, Vietnam, and Turkey. (Credence Research)
The top 5 countries for t-shirt imports are the United States, the UK, Japan, France, and Spain. (Credence Research)
Although search volumes saw record numbers between 2019 and 2021, interest in custom t-shirts remains high worldwide. Spring and summer periods have the highest interest trend spikes. (Ahrefs)
Custom t-shirt printing costs have been on the rise for several years now, primarily due to clothing manufacturers increasing their prices. This has resulted in a 5% to 15% increase in prices for low-end clothing items and a 15% hike for high-end ones. (Credence Research)
Source: Google Trends
By 2024, retail-focused ecommerce is predicted to amount to $7 trillion in annual sales or 25% of total retail sales at that time. (Amazonaws)
The web-to-print market is poised to grow by $528.71 million during 2021-2025, progressing at a CAGR of 7.99% during the forecast period. (Research and Markets)
By 2028, the global print-on-demand software market is expected to grow at a substantial CAGR of 33.5%. (Digital Journal)
As one of the largest on-demand printing companies, we’re always on the lookout for new technologies and industry trends. Check out our company statistics below.
Printful is continually adopting new technologies. In November 2022, Printful joined the ranks of early adopters by introducing Sweden’s Coloreel’s instant thread color unit (ITCU) and introduced unlimited color embroidery. (Credence Research)
The overall bestselling Printful products are t-shirts and sweatshirts for the apparel category, and mugs and posters for the home & living category. (Printful)
In 2022, Printful started offering customers over 500 trendy and print-ready designs through a partnership with Patternbank. (Printful)
In 2022, Printful added 3D product models for ecommerce stores integrated with Shopify. (Printful)
In 2021, Printful invested $32.4 million solely in printing equipment and technology, bringing its total investment to $83.8 million to date. (Printful)
In 2021, Printful added more than 70 new products to its product catalog, now offering over 300 products to customers worldwide. (Printful)
In 2021, Printful experienced notable growth of 115% in its enterprise-level customer segment, securing partnerships with well-known brands like Coca-Cola, MTV, and Comedy Central in recent years. (Printful)
In 2021, Printful’s revenue reached more than $289 million, an increase of 39% compared to its revenue of $208 million in 2020. (Printful)
To recap—here are the main trends in the world of print-on-demand and ecommerce:
The print-on-demand market size continues to grow
Search interest for print-on-demand rose dramatically at the start of COVID-19 in March 2020 and, in 2023, it’s considerably above the pre-pandemic level
The demand for custom products continues to increase and customers are willing to pay more for them
There’s also a growing demand for sustainable products, packaging, and shipping
Got some more print-on-demand industry insights? Share them in the comments below.
Aleksandra is the editor of the Printful Blog. Coming from a background in communication studies, she's passionate about all things marketing. In her spare time, she runs her own print-on-demand business.