Blog / Beginner's handbook / Printful’s Official 2017 Year-End Review
Another year over, and a new one’s just begun–
It’s been a fantastic 12 months for us here at Printful, and we hope you can look back at the year with the same sentiment. We bet there were goals smashed, challenges met, and lessons learned – all the ingredients of a growing business.
As for us, we’ve taken a few leaps and countless smaller steps forward – now it’s time to take a quick breather and revisit the facts and figures that made our 2017!
First things first, Printful is nothing without our customers! So the first figure in this recap is the number of people registered with Printful in 2017. And it’s a glorious one: 275,310. Can you believe that a year ago this was roughly the number of all Printfulers?
Team Printful had a pretty awesome growth spurt, too. We’re now 377 people, and the team in Latvia welcomed more friendly faces than ever, making the jump from 42 to 100!
And our amazing customer support team worked hard to maintain a strong link between the people building Printful and you go-getters using it to build your businesses. In 2017, the customer support team handled more than:
Unsurprisingly, the hottest time of year for all of us was late November. We kicked off strong with Black Friday, but Cyber Monday still proved itself to be the bigger sales day for us. In fact, Cyber Monday 2017 was Printful’s biggest sales day to date.
We hope Cyber Week was a hit for you, too. If you’ve chosen 2018 as the year of your holiday season debut, or the year you put your previous sales records to shame, make sure to carve your strategy well in advance!
The numbers confirm that activity during Cyber Week is becoming increasingly more spread out, and it’s a good idea to offer deals before Black Friday hits and even after Cyber Monday is over.
See the chart below for an idea of how Cyber Week went for us last year and the year before.
And while we’re on orders, let’s go over some of the key metrics for 2017. The average order value was $30.52, very close to the figures from the last few years. The average fulfillment time for orders, however, was 2.62 days, 0.2 days down compared to 2016!
Order value: check! Fulfillment time: got it! So what about our top shipping destinations? The same as last year, we shipped the bigger part of our orders to locations in North America, Europe, and Australia.
In the US, the most orders were sent to California.
As for Europe, the top destination was the United Kingdom.
So when you look at the list of the countries we’ve shipped to, the top four remains undefeated:
However, there’s a newcomer in #5 – Germany (Hallo!).
We’ll go into more detail later, but you may have already noticed that 2017 was a year of international growth for Printful with the opening of our first Europe location in Riga, Latvia. That means we’re transforming our initially US-oriented set of goals into a more global vision of Printful.
And that’s why we’re so excited to see more and more Printful orders shipped to the ecommerce capitals of Europe, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
Not a day goes by when someone from the Printful team doesn’t utter the word t-shirt, and rightly so: in 2017, we printed a whopping 1,440,201 tees, bringing the current total of products printed to a staggering 4.3M.
The best-selling t-shirt has been the Bella + Canvas 3001, with 304,179 garments printed.
As every year, people showed much love for posters and mugs, with 203,312, and 95,231 items printed respectively. But there are two product categories that really took off in 2017, and those were cut & sew and embroidery.
From leggings to tote bags and t-shirts, the cut & sew department hand-crafted more than 164,000 products, which is nearly three times more than the year before.
Last January we launched one of our biggest game-changers to date, the world’s first-ever embroidery generator. Hats off to everyone using it and hat-lovers around the globe: over the course of 2017, we’ve embroidered 163,459 hats.
The best selling model? The Yupoong 6245CM aka the Dad Cap, with 48,685 hats made.
To make sure every one of your customers finds just what they’re looking for, we spent 2017 introducing exciting new products. Aside from the Printful Potato Sack which didn’t make the final cut, in 2017 we added 43 new products.
Some of the crowd faves include the Otto Cap Beanie, the Tultex Jersey Raglan, yoga leggings, and cases for the latest iPhone and Samsung phones.
All these new additions mean that we’re starting 2018 with 129 products and 3,357 product variants in the Printful catalog. Plenty more to come, so stay tuned!
One of the truths we like to remind our customers is that creating a good product is one thing, but presenting it to the world is something else entirely. So in 2017, we made sure you have access to all the possible resources to get your product seen and your entrepreneurial voice heard.
Starting with the Printful blog, the marketing team published more than 55 blog posts, with topics ranging from the biggest Printful updates to the hottest ecommerce trends. The 3 most-read blogs were the lowdown on our new Europe location, our guide to selling on Etsy, and the article following the restructuring of American Apparel.
Over the last year, our video marketing team made videos like never before, from must-watch Printful tutorials to interviews and creative sketches. The video count for 2017? More than 70. And the most-watched video? Our embroidery guidelines (51,314 views).
2017 was a productive year for the Design Services team. They hired 4 new designers to make sure the 6,126 requests submitted could get handled with the attention they deserve. The top trends last year were athletic designs, animals, and typography. Ecommerce Photography had a busy year as well, with 1,905 requests made.
Although they tell us a great deal, 2017 wasn’t all about figures. It was also about events that added a new dimension to what Printful is about and gave us new, ambitious goals to aspire to. So here’s the big 3 of 2017:
One of the focal points of 2017 was the opening of our first Europe location in Riga, Latvia, the country where the Printful founders were born. This marks a new chapter in the Printful story, one that will lead to many others – in Europe, and around the world.
The share of European orders is growing on a monthly basis, and since the machines first started operating last July, production at our Europe facility has nearly tripled.
One of the main reasons behind taking that first step into Europe is to give you the possibility to expand into a new market. Plus, months after the launch of our Europe facility, and in keeping with our 2017 mindset of reaching new horizons, we unveiled another exciting Printful endeavor, our Warehousing & Fulfillment service.
This new service is in line with the idea that all your ecommerce operations should be kept in one place – it’s more efficient and less nerve-racking. As we continue building Printful into an all-in-one ecommerce solution, we’re now also offering to fulfill all of our customer orders, even products not produced by us.
In 2017, we launched four integrations, Weebly, Amazon, and Etsy. Etsy was by far the most anticipated integration launch, and Printful customers immediately saw the potential of showcasing their products on this million-dollar ecommerce powerhouse.
In a matter of months, the Printful + Etsy integration has become one of the most popular integrations on Printful.
The big three you just saw were just some of the things we crossed off our list. There were plenty of other events and launches, like the launch of our Design Maker text tool, and the introduction of our alternatives tool.
Last year was also about getting to know you guys even more, and finding out how we can help you even more. So we hosted our first-ever Printful meetup in sunny California. Flowing with good vibes, the event was a clear sign that the Printful meetup is something worth repeating.
So that’s exactly what we did – we decided to throw one in Riga, too, and have a cozy chat with anyone nearby who’s had the word Printful cross their mind.
Speaking of names, we made one minor tweak and changed our domain from theprintful.com to printful.com. After all, the devil is in the details. And it’s getting harder and harder to imagine us with the the, isn’t it?
There’s only one direction for us in the new year, and that’s forward. However, with every new page we turn, we also like take a look back and improve what we’ve already done. So 2018 is also going to be the time to do a bit of editing and restructuring.
One thing’s certain though, with the Printful team getting stronger by the month, we’ll be bringing you more new updates, integrations, and products (coming soon: backpacks and swimwear)!
Keeping Printful in tip-top shape is a group effort, so there’s only one thing left to say – a big thank you for all your support and feedback! We’re grateful that you’re so eager to share your stories and insights – without them, getting to where we’re headed would be much much harder.
We’d love to hear what last year was like for you and what goals you’ve set for 2018, so make sure to leave a comment below!
Have an incredible 2018!
Marianna Zvaigzne is the Head of Brand Language at Printful. With the help of her team, she’s pinning down what it means to “sound like Printful” and keeps Printful copywriters on their toes with animated editing sessions and writing workshops.
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