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105 Print-on-Demand Statistics and Trends You Should Know in 2022

105 Print-on-Demand Statistics and Trends You Should Know in 2022
Aleksandra Rosa

By Aleksandra Rosa

15 min read

The world of print-on-demand and ecommerce is booming. Even during the uncertain times of the pandemic, the ecommerce industry has gone from strength to strength.

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:

  • Industry and product trends
  • COVID-19’s impact on print-on-demand
  • Printful’s in-house survey data

Sounds good? Let’s jump right in!

Print-on-Demand Growth

clothes on a rack illustration
Source: Printful

The print-on-demand industry grew by 12% from 2017 to 2020. While other industries stumbled during the pandemic, print-on-demand was getting record-high interest. Several factors 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 2019, the ecommerce share of global retail sales amounted to 13.8%. In 2021, the share was already up to 19.6%. That’s an increase of almost 6% in just 2 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 money on sustainable fashion. 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 to the focus 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.

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Print-on-Demand Industry and Product Statistics

Girl wearing a hoodie and a face mask illustration
Source: Printful
  • The digital printing industry started in 1993 and grew exponentially to be worth $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 print-on-demand rose dramatically at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. It also spiked in January and April of 2021. In 2022, it still remains above the pre-pandemic level. (Ahrefs)
Interest growth for print-on-demand in a Google Trends view
Source: Google Trends
  • Custom stickers were among the most searched for print-on-demand items in 2020, with interest continuing to grow. (Ahrefs)
  • Personalized gifts have been getting more and more popular year after year, with 2020 signaling the highest interest to date (an increase of about 20% YoY). (Ahrefs)
  • 1 out of 5 customers is willing to pay up to 20% extra for personalized products and services. (ComCap)
  • 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)
  • Google search volumes in 2020 and 2021 indicate that the fastest-growing print-on-demand product was custom face masks. (Ahrefs)
  • Custom hoodies and custom hats have remained very popular print-on-demand items in 2020 and 2021. (Ahrefs)
  • Currently, the top trending print-on-demand products in 2022 are hoodies, sportswear, premium t-shirts, eco-friendly products, hats, stationery, wall art, phone cases, drinkware, and bags. (Printful)

Print-on-Demand During COVID-19 and Beyond

Man with a laptop illustration
Source: Printful

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.

This shift towards owning your own business instead of working for someone else had a huge impact on the print-on-demand industry. Back in March 2020, the first red flags of the pandemic started to rise and so did interest in print-on-demand. In March, Google search volume for the “print on demand” keyword rose by 10,000 monthly searches and continued to grow until August. 

Why did print-on-demand gain such interest during the pandemic? It 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 with a highly contagious virus lurking around—you can set up your store from the safety of your own home.

But it wasn’t just the print-on-demand industry in general that gained online attention. A sudden increase in search volumes also happened for specific print-on-demand products, like custom stickers and personalized gifts. Unsurprisingly, the fastest-growing print-on-demand product (based on Google search volumes in 2020) was custom face masks. In January 2020, the keyword “custom face mask” had a humble 345 monthly Google searches on average. By April, the monthly search volume had reached a whopping 172,000. The numbers continued to grow, reaching a record-high volume of 224,000 in July 2020. Afterward, the trend rapidly declined, falling to just 6,000 monthly searches in July 2021, just a year later.

Custom face masks
Source: Printful

Digital Textile Printing Market Statistics

  • 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)
  • Clothing had the largest digital textile printing market share in 2020, followed by soft signage (i.e. banners, flags, etc.), home decor, and others. (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 from $1.5 billion in 2020 to $2.7 billion by 2026. (Business Wire)
  • 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)
  • Digital printing technology reduces the consumption of water by nearly 90% and lowers the electric consumption by nearly 30%. (Fortune Business Insights)
  • The fastest-growing digital textile printing market by region is the Asia Pacific, followed by North America and Europe. (Mordor Intelligence)
  • In 2020, China accounted for 43.5% of the global textile export value with an exporting value of around $154 billion. (Mordor Intelligence)
  • Approximately 3.41 billion meters of clothing fabric were produced in China in October 2021, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China. (Mordor Intelligence)
  • 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)

Web-to-Print Industry Statistics

  • 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 2020, the global market for web-to-print was estimated at $983.4 million. (Research and Markets)
  • The growth rate of the global web-to-print market is 6.2%, with an estimated value of $1500 million by 2027. (Research and Markets)

Dropshipping Statistics

  • In 2020, the size of the global dropshipping market was estimated at $128 billion. (Market Data Forecast)
  • The dropshipping market is expected to record a CAGR of 32% from 2021 to 2026. (Market Data Forecast)
  • Search interest for dropshipping and dropshipping suppliers rose dramatically during the year 2020 and peaked at the beginning of 2021, indicating that more and more people show continued interest in starting their own business. (Ahrefs)
  • In fact, from 2020 to 2022, the number of people searching for “what is dropshipping” and “how to start dropshipping” has almost doubled. (Ahrefs)
  • In 2022, about 703,000 people per month globally searched for the word “dropshipping”. (Ahrefs)
  • The largest dropshipping product categories sold on Shopify stores are clothing, home & garden, jewelry & watches. (Statista)
Main dropshipping product categories on Shopify stores
Source: Statista
  • In April 2021, clothing products made up nearly 16% of all products dropshipped on Shopify. (Statista)
  • The following are characteristics of dropshipping products that sell well on Amazon and eBay: small and lightweight (shoebox size with a weight less than 4 lbs), non-seasonal, and priced between $15 and $200. (SaleHoo)
  • From 2020 to 2026, the dropshipping market is expected to record an average annual growth rate of of 24. (Oberlo)
  • The market is predicted to be worth $476.1 billion by 2026—more than 3.5 times its value in 2020. (Oberlo)
  • If the trend continues, the dropshipping market will breach the $500 billion mark in 2027. (Oberlo)

Home & Wall Decor Market Statistics

  • The global wall decor market grew at a CAGR of 3.5% from 2013 to 2021. (Future Marketing Insights)
  • Throughout 2020, the interest in custom wall art stayed strong and continued to grow. (Ahrefs)
  • The global home decor market reached $682 billion in 2021. (Imarc Group)
  • 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)
  • Home furniture has the largest home decor market share by product type, followed by home textiles, flooring, wall decor, and lighting. (Imarc Group)
Global home decor market share
Source: 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)
  • In 2020, the US wall covering and wall decor market was valued at $13.12 billion, and is expected to reach $17 billion by 2026. (Mordor Intelligence)
  • 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)
  • The global wall decor market is estimated at $58.2 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach $70.9 billion by 2027. (Future Marketing Insights)

Custom T-shirt Printing Industry Statistics

  • In 2020, the global custom t-shirt printing market size was valued at $3.64 billion. From 2021 to 2028, it is expected to grow at a CAGRof 9.7%. (Grand View Research)
global custom t-shirt printing market share by design
Source: Grand View Research
  • Custom-designed t-shirts are becoming increasingly popular among companies, especially start-ups, for branding purposes. They increase brand visibility and help attract prospective customers. (Grand View Research)
  • The entertainment industry makes a major contribution to t-shirt industry growth, especially with movie merchandise. (Grand View Research)
  • There is an increase in the use of custom printed t-shirts to create social awareness, raise a voice, and support a cause. (Grand View Research)
  • Digital printing as a whole is the fastest-growing segment of the t-shirt industry. It is growing with a CAGR of 10.7% from 2021 to 2028. (Grand View Research)
  • In 2021, the screen-printing segment of the t-shirt industry held the highest revenue share of more than 56%. (Grand View Research)
  • For the custom t-shirt printing market, the graphic design shirts segment held the greatest share in 2020 with over 56%. (Grand View Research)
  • Asia Pacific dominated the custom t-shirt printing market in 2020 and accounted for over 36% 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)
  • Although search volumes saw record numbers between 2019 and 2021, interest in custom t-shirts remains high worldwide. (Ahrefs)

Print-on-Demand Predictions

  • By 2024, retail-focused ecommerce is predicted to amount to $7 trillion in annual sales or 25% of total retail sales at that time. (ComCap)
  • 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)

Printful Print-on-Demand Statistics

Printful custom clothing
Source: Printful

As one of the largest on-demand printing companies, we’re always on the lookout for new print-on-demand industry trends.

We’ve surveyed our customers about a variety of POD-related topics, including the effect of COVID-19 on POD business owners, ecommerce holiday marketing, and the importance of sustainability for print-on-demand businesses.

Check out our company statistics and survey findings for a more in-depth look at the industry from our customers’ perspectives.

Printful Company Statistics

  • During the 2021 peak season, Printful’s total gross merchandise value (GMV) reached more than $1 billion, and the company’s now printed over 40 million items. (Printful)
  • During Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021, Printful received almost 285,000 orders and delivered them to a total of 132 countries, generating more than $13 million in sales. (Printful)
  • The overall best-selling Printful products in 2021 were t-shirts and sweatshirts for the apparel category and mugs and posters for the home & living category. (Printful)
  • In 2021, Printful added more than 70 new products to its product catalog, now offering over 300 products to customers worldwide. (Printful)

Printful Survey: POD Businesses During the Pandemic

In early 2021, we surveyed Printful store owners who had sales within the last 12 months, asking them how COVID-19 affected their businesses. We got 485 respondents who shared their experiences. Survey timeframe: March–April 2021. Source: Printful

Here are our findings about print-on-demand businesses operating during the pandemic:

  • A quarter of respondents started their online business due to the pandemic
  • 66% of business owners were affected financially by the pandemic
  • 38% introduced new designs inspired by the pandemic
  • During the pandemic, face masks (38%) were the most-added new product for online store owners
  • 60% ran their business as a part-time side hustle, but more than half (68%) of the part-time entrepreneurs wanted to go full-time
  • Almost half of the business owners saw an unexpected surge in sales (45%)
  • The majority of business owners relied on social media (75%) to find info on how to run their business more effectively
  • 93% used social media to promote their products
  • 40% spent between $100–500 on marketing activities
  • Email marketing (52%) and website analytics tools (53%) were used the most to improve business operations: to grow and reach the target audience, increase sales, optimize website traffic and performance, etc.
print on demand survey data about covid impact on pod in 2020

Printful Survey: Print-on-Demand Businesses During Cyber Week 2020

Following Cyber Week 2020, we surveyed print-on-demand business owners to see how successful their Cyber Week promotions were. Survey timeframe: December 2020–January 2021. Source: Printful

These are the key findings about Cyber Week ecommerce marketing:

  • For the majority (79%) of the responding store owners, this was their first Cyber Week ever
  • Most of the respondents (69%) decided to prioritize Black Friday over other Cyber Week holidays
  • Over 20% of store owners prepared for Cyber Week 3 weeks in advance
  • 43% decided to launch early promotions for Cyber Week
  • 33% of store owners added new products specifically for Cyber Week
  • Black Friday sales turned out to be the most successful for respondents (38%), closely followed by Cyber Monday (27%)
  • Using social media (71%) was the go-to approach for running Cyber Week promotions
Cyber week print-on-demand store survey 2020

Printful Survey: Print-on-Demand and Sustainability 2021

In this “decade of action,” consumers are taking more interest in making eco-conscious choices. To that end, the demand for sustainable products and packaging is growing.

In our 2021 survey, we asked 3,587 print-on-demand store owners about how sustainability has affected their business. We found out that over half of them communicate about sustainability (59%) to their customers. The majority of store owners agree that both eco-friendly products and packaging are important to them as well as to their customers.

Here are some more findings from the survey (Source: Printful):

  • For nearly half of the business owners (55%) sustainability is part of their business focus
  • 59% communicate about sustainability in their marketing materials and on their websites
  • About 40% of respondents say it’s very important that the products they sell are eco-friendly
  • Products made from natural, organic (80%) materials are considered by respondents to be the most eco-friendly 
  • Exactly 50% say it’s very important that product packaging is eco-friendly
  • Recyclable packaging (79%) is considered by respondents to be the most eco-friendly
  • Nearly 40% of respondents claim it’s very important that the production process is carbon neutral

Key Takeaways: Print-on-Demand Trends to Remember in 2022

Woman with laptop illustration
Source: 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, even during the pandemic
  • Search interest for print-on-demand rose dramatically at the start of COVID-19 in March 2020 and, in 2022, it’s still above the pre-pandemic level
  • The pandemic prompted the need for a steady side income, and starting a print-on-demand business became one of the top methods of achieving this
  • 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.

Create and sell custom products online
Turn your ideas into premium products that leave a lasting impression

By Aleksandra Rosa on May 12, 2022

Aleksandra Rosa

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.

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.