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Blog / Marketing tips / 20 T-Shirt Industry Statistics and Trends

Marketing tips

20 T-Shirt Industry Statistics and Trends

20 T-Shirt Industry Statistics and Trends
Sandra Ķempele

By Sandra Ķempele

13 min read

T-shirts are one of the most popular and versatile clothing items in the world. But how much do we know about the t-shirt industry and its current trends? 

In this blog post, we’ll cover:

  • T-shirt industry growth predictions in the US and worldwide

  • Custom t-shirt printing trends

  • Sustainable manufacturing statistics


Whether you’re interested in the t-shirt market trends or looking for insights before starting a clothing line, this article offers the most relevant and up-to-date t-shirt industry statistics to keep you informed. Let’s get started!

Global t-shirt statistics 

With the rise of ecommerce and popular fashion brands entering the t-shirt industry, the global t-shirt market’s future seems bright.

The global t-shirt market is expected to reach $51.72B in revenue by 2028 

Over the years, the global market has evolved, driving fashion trends in plain t-shirts, personalized shirts, graphic and vintage t-shirt designs, and custom t-shirts.

The increasing demand for casual and comfortable clothing among consumers of different age groups and regions is one of the key growth factors driving the market. Moreover, the rising popularity of ecommerce platforms and print-on-demand services has enabled shoppers to access a wide range of products and designs at affordable prices.

The t-shirt segment’s revenue is estimated at $45.52B in 2024

The t-shirt market is expected to grow annually by 3.24% (2024–2028 forecast period). Consumers are increasingly opting for comfortable and versatile clothing that can be worn for different occasions. The rising popularity of casual wear and athleisure worldwide is a key driver of the market growth.

Another reason for the market expansion is the rising trend of customized and personalized shirts. Custom t-shirts allow customers to express their creativity, identity, and preferences through personalized designs.

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Most revenue from the t-shirt market is generated in China ($5.9B in 2024)

In global comparison, China is expected to generate the most revenue from the t-shirt market worldwide, with an estimated $5.9B in 2024. China is in a dominant position as a manufacturer and a consumer of t-shirts.

China has been the world’s largest apparel producer and exporter for over a decade, benefiting from low labor costs, advanced technology, and favorable trade policies. China is also a huge market for t-shirts, with a growing middle class and a young population that favors fashionable and comfortable clothing.

The women’s t-shirt market size is expected to grow by 6.1% annually from 2022 to 2028

The global women’s t-shirt market was estimated at $106.6B in 2021 and will grow significantly from 2022 to 2028. In addition to the increasing demand for casual and comfortable clothing, the rising popularity of online shopping and ecommerce platforms offers a wide range of options and convenience for customers of all genders. 

Historically, men’s t-shirts have made up the largest market segment. However, unisex and women’s t-shirts are becoming increasingly popular. The growth of the women’s t-shirt segment also reflects the changing preferences and attitudes towards fashion, comfort, and self-expression.

 

printful all-over print t-shirt

Source: Printful 

T-shirt market in the United States

The United States is a big player in the t-shirt industry. Its growing market implies that there’s a steady demand for new t-shirts. So, let’s look at some data that shows current trends and future predictions for the t-shirt market in the US.

The t-shirt segment’s revenue in the US is estimated at $5.3B in 2024

The US t-shirt market is expected to grow annually by 3.68% from 2024 to 2028. Similarly to other worldwide trends, we can explain the US t-shirt market revenue growth by looking at global consumer behavior. Increasing demand for casual clothing and the popularity of online shopping, customization, and printing services has driven the United States to become the largest apparel market in the world, second only to China.

T-shirts are versatile and adaptable garments that suit different occasions, styles, and preferences. They’re also relatively simple to produce, distribute, and market, making them attractive to consumers and retailers.

The t-shirt segment’s revenue in the United States (2014–2027).

The t-shirt segment’s revenue in the United States (2014–2027). Source: Statista

Each person in the US spends about $15.6 on t-shirts per year

The t-shirt segment is one of the most popular and profitable categories in the apparel market in the US.

With the advancement of technology and ecommerce, t-shirts can be produced and distributed at lower costs and faster speeds. As a result, t-shirts are becoming more affordable. Buyers also benefit from the convenience and variety of online shopping platforms that offer a wide range of t-shirts from different brands, designs, and prices.

The US women’s t-shirt market is expected to grow by 6% every year

The market for women’s t-shirts is expanding, and it’s estimated to experience a growth rate of 6% from 2022 to 2028. 

The rising popularity of ecommerce platforms means a broader range of styles to offer, including women’s and unisex t-shirts. 

US women's tshirt market

Source: Grand View Research

The custom t-shirt market has experienced growth due to the rise of digital printing technologies, the popularity of ecommerce, and consumers’ desire for unique items.

Personalized options also offer a competitive edge for businesses, as they can boost customer loyalty, increase brand awareness, and generate word-of-mouth referrals.

Another factor is the rising trend of customization in the fashion industry. Customers seek ways to express their individuality, preferences, and creativity through clothing choices.

a graph on a white background

Source: Google Trends

The custom t-shirt printing market is expected to reach $8.5B by 2032

The global custom t-shirt printing market was estimated at $4.5B in 2023 and is expected to grow annually by 7.09% (2024–2032 forecast period).

Year after year, the market is expanding as the apparel industry and ecommerce platforms offer more personalized clothing options. This impressive market growth rate can be attributed to several factors:

  1. The emergence of online platforms and ecommerce channels enables easy and convenient ordering, designing, and delivery of custom-printed t-shirts across the globe.

  2. The growing demand for personalized printed t-shirts among shoppers as they want to express their individuality, preferences, and opinions through clothing.

  3. Companies, start-ups, and organizations increasingly use custom t-shirt printing as a modern branding strategy to promote their products, services, or causes.

  4. Fans of movies, TV shows, celebrities, and sports teams want to show their loyalty and support by wearing custom shirts.

  5. The availability of various printing techniques offers different levels of quality, durability, and cost-effectiveness.

Asia Pacific is the fastest-growing region in the custom t-shirt printing market

The region accounted for the largest global market share in 2022 and is expected to grow 7.79% from 2022 to 2026. Technological advancements and new product launches by key industry players are reasons why the custom t-shirt printing market is growing in Asia Pacific. The rise of digital textile printing and advances in dye-sublimation technology have opened up new market segments and opportunities in the region.

Moreover, Asia Pacific’s market is expected to grow due to its vast population base with increasing urbanization and spending power, especially in China and India. Plus, the emergence of popular ecommerce and social media platforms creates a rise in demand for customized t-shirts.

custom tshirt printing market in Asia

Source: Grand View Research

Graphic design shirts dominate the custom t-shirt printing market 

Graphic t-shirts with pre-existing designs dominate most of the global custom t-shirt printing market. These t-shirts accounted for over 57% of the global revenue in 2022. Historically, graphic t-shirts, which don’t require further adjustments or personalization, have been the largest market segment.

However, the artwork segment is expected to be the fastest-growing, boasting a growth rate of 11.6% from 2023 to 2030. The high growth of the custom artwork segment indicates the rising demand for customized clothing, especially for slogans and personalized messages.

T-shirt personalization is one of the custom t-shirt market’s main driving factors

This reveals a growing trend in the apparel industry: customers want to express their individuality and creativity through their clothing choices and personalized products. This can include adding text, images, logos, colors, or patterns to a plain shirt or even modifying the shape, size, or style of the t-shirt itself.

T-shirt personalization has several benefits for both customers and businesses. For customers, it’s a chance to show off their personality, preferences, and values. For businesses, it can create a competitive advantage, generate more revenue, and reduce inventory costs. Personalization can also help build stronger customer relationships and cater to their needs.

The commercial segment generates the most revenue in the custom t-shirt printing industry

The custom t-shirt printing market sees the most money from the commercial segment, which held more than 67% of the revenue share in 2022. This dominance can be attributed to the growing demand for personalized t-shirts in the hospitality, media, and retail sectors. Custom-printed t-shirts are often used to promote the company’s brand identity through logos or slogans.

Customized t-shirts are also popular as corporate gifts that serve as off-the-clock advertising. Equally, community groups often use custom prints to dress up a team and share a message. 

community t-shirts

Source: “Girl Get After It” via Instagram 

T-shirt printing methods

Screen printing, digital printing, and plot printing are the most popular techniques for printing designs on t-shirts. Below, we’ve gathered industry insights about these methods, their popularity, advantages, and the technological developments fueling future trends. 

Screen printing holds 56% of the custom t-shirt printing segment

Screen printing is the traditional and cost-effective printing technique that’s been around for ages. Its greatest advantage is printing on various materials: synthetic fabrics like polyester, viscose, silk, and others. In addition, screen printing technology offers high print quality, color vibrancy, and a soft finish.

It’s predicted that the screen printing segment will continue to lead the custom t-shirt printing market (2023 to 2030 forecast period), with digital technology presenting growing competition.

Digital printing for custom t-shirts is expected to grow by 12% annually from 2023 to 2030

The digital printing segment of custom t-shirt printing is set to snowball at 12% from 2023 to 2030. Digital printing is a modern method that uses computer-controlled printers to print images directly onto fabric. This includes direct-to-garment (DTG) printing and direct-to-fabric (DTF) printing techniques.

Digital technology offers several advantages over screen printing. For example, faster turnaround time, lower production costs, and reduced environmental impact. The development of various newer technologies like UV gel also plays a role in the industry’s innovation. This progress allows for faster, cheaper, and more eco-friendly t-shirt production. Below, check out some of the breakthroughs, advancing digital printing technology in the last 50 years. 

digital printing milestones

Source: ComCap

Digital printing can reduce water consumption by 90% per meter of printed fabric compared to other production methods

In addition to reduced water consumption, digital printing can decrease energy use by about 30%. Overall, digital printing is expected to lower the environmental impact of custom t-shirt printing by using less water, energy, and chemicals than other printing techniques. 

The advancements in printing technology are also expected to improve the quality and durability of the prints. The cost-effectiveness of the method is expected to help grow the digital textile printing market segment in the coming years.

In 2021, more than half of the digital textile printed garments in the US were made of cotton, representing over 52% of the market share. Cotton is also the most commonly used material for t-shirts, accounting for more than half of the global t-shirt market share. 

Cotton is a natural fiber that’s soft, breathable, durable, and easy to care for. Organic cotton is also gaining popularity among environmentally conscious customers willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly products.

However, the percentage of digital textile printed garments made of polyester or a cotton-polyester blend is expected to increase significantly in the next few years. Polyester is a synthetic fiber that’s strong, wrinkle-resistant, and colorfast. It’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly than cotton regarding water and energy consumption.

The t-shirt industry sustainability journey

Consumers have become more conscious of the materials, processes, and labor conditions involved in producing their garments.

In turn, businesses increasingly seek ways to reduce their carbon footprint and waste generation by opting for more durable, recyclable, and biodegradable products and resource-efficient printing methods.

It takes up to 2,700 liters of water to make the average cotton t-shirt

This reveals the hidden environmental cost of the fashion industry, which is one of the world’s largest consumers and polluters of water, especially when it comes to producing cotton t-shirts. 

How does a simple t-shirt use so much water? The answer lies in the production process of cotton, a thirsty crop that requires a lot of irrigation and pesticides. In addition, dyeing and finishing textiles also consume and contaminate large amounts of water, often in regions where water is scarce.

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The fashion industry accounts for 1.8% of global carbon emissions

Sustainability and waste have always been key concerns in the fashion industry. Even the lower estimate of 1.8% is equivalent to the emissions of all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

Some of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the fashion industry come from the production of raw materials (such as cotton, wool, leather, and synthetic fibers), manufacturing, transportation, distribution, consumption, and disposal of fashion products. All these activities consume energy and water, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions. 

The sustainable fashion market will reach $33.05B by 2030

The market is expected to grow by 22.9% yearly from 2023 to 2030, reaching $33.05B. This statistic demonstrates the growing demand for ethically produced, environmentally friendly, and socially responsible clothing. One of the main drivers of this market growth is the rising buyer awareness about the environmental and social impacts of their fashion choices. 

Different country government initiatives worldwide also support the sustainable clothing market.

66% of global consumers say sustainability impacts their buying decisions

Younger generations are leading the change. In the US, 54% of Gen Z and 57% of millennials said sustainability was important to them

A desire to prevent environmental damage is the primary motivator for consumers to choose sustainably made goods.

While there’s demand for sustainably made products, there are also challenges. High prices and social media influence are the main reasons buyers still choose fast fashion despite their values.

Yet, with sustainable fashion becoming a requirement and more consumers aware of greenwashing, companies must adapt to remain relevant.

Valuable read: What Is Sustainable Fashion and Can I Dress Cool While the Earth Is on Fire?

a woman sitting in a closet full of clothes

Source: Printful

The future of the t-shirt industry

Globally, the t-shirt market is growing in line with the increasing popularity of online shopping and consumer interest in casual wear. This expansion is especially noticeable in the largest apparel markets—Asia Pacific, the US, and Europe. 

Both consumers and businesses show growing interest in custom-printed t-shirts and personalized clothing. This goes hand in hand with the advancements of digital printing technology, allowing for faster, cheaper, and more resource-efficient t-shirt printing. 

Much like the fashion industry, t-shirt businesses face challenges to become greener and more sustainable, with younger generations demanding sustainable fashion.

Got some more industry insights to share? Let us know in the comments below.

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By Sandra Ķempele on Apr 18, 2024

Sandra Ķempele

Guest author

Sandra is a freelance writer and educator with a background in art and communication. She holds an MA in Art Museum and Gallery Studies, and in her free time enjoys reading, museum visits, and outdoor adventures.

Sandra is a freelance writer and educator with a background in art and communication. She holds an MA in Art Museum and Gallery Studies, and in her free time enjoys reading, museum visits, and outdoor adventures.