Home » Marketing Tips » You have to read this – print on demand leading expert exclusive 2020 forecast

You have to read this – print on demand leading expert exclusive 2020 forecast

Rate this post

You have to read this – print on demand leading expert exclusive 2020 forecast

There has never been a more exciting time to be unique as today, and print on demand has never been this huge. So, we here at Printify together with the leading experts, YouTubers, bloggers and Facebook group owners have put together a list of 2019 highlights, plus an exclusive 2020 trend forecast with valuable insights about what’s to come. 

 Sarah Chrisp – Wholesale TED

What trends affected you in 2019? 

There were 2 big trends that happened in 2019, that had a big impact on me in the world of e-commerce, and they all have to do with shifting Customer Base:

1) As Generation Z ages and enters the marketplace, our marketing is changing. Three key factors define this generation’s shopping habits: skepticism combined with a desire for authenticity and vulnerability from the stores they shop with. Having a strong social media presence with active managers and service staff that interact directly with customers in a personal way, goes a long way to breaking down the skepticism. This is something I have had to focus on. 

2) Despite the growing skepticism towards brands, Generation Z is statistically twice more likely than the Boomer generation to make an impulse purchase. My response is to rely less on repeat customer purchases, and to focus on the customer’s first journey through the store: aggressively testing different upsells and using techniques like limited-time ‘thank you’ coupons to encourage them to come back and purchase again directly after their initial sale.

What was the most asked question from your community in 2019?

There are several, but one of the most interesting is this: “I am running ads, and despite lots of clicks, I haven’t made a single sale. What is going on?” Almost every time I open up their stores, they look extremely untrustworthy. This is a pitfall that many new sellers find themselves in.

Almost everyone suffers from Illusory Superiority: a cognitive bias that makes us think that we are above average in our endeavors.

In some ways, it is very helpful, because it is integral to having a healthy self-esteem. On the other hand, it means that it’s very difficult for us to step back and be objective about the things we create. I usually recommend that they find their most honest family member or friend, sit down and tear their store apart, so they can re-build it back up stronger. 

What do you think will be the next big thing in print on demand?

I think there will be a growing awareness of how to build and design high-converting stores. Most successful stores I see rely on the strength of their traffic and social media pages to sell their products over their storefront. If they were to spend more time learning how to create professional-looking stores that inspire trust and use techniques like upsells to drastically increase the average order value, they could make far more than they do.

3 Things to watch out for in 2020

#1 Generation Z

Generation Z will continue to saturate the marketplace and it will be more skewed towards them and their values as time goes on. 

#2 TikTok

TikTok right now is a difficult platform to monetize, but it is absolutely exploding. There is a huge amount of money to be made on the platform but we haven’t cracked the code yet. Whoever does crack in though, will become very rich.

#3 Customer-focused store

Platforms like Shopify have made it easier than before for anyone to open a store and I predict that more people will continue to open stores in 2020. If you can build a store that is designed to serve your niche and be customer-focused, that will put you leaps and bounds ahead of most people.

Follow Sarah here:

Michael Essek

What trends affected you in 2019?

Political trends were a steady feature and generated consistent sellers throughout 2019, with UK specific political designs doing especially well. 

Aside from that, I can’t say there were any obvious trends that affected me and my sales…I just kept doing my usual pop-culture stuff and trying (often failing) to make my own trends. I had a few minor hits here and there but nothing easily identifiable within a ‘trend’.

 What was the most asked question from your community in 2019?

Hmmm, the most asked questions rarely change – which platform is best…which print-on-demand fulfillment company should I use…how to build a brand…etc.

I started doing some live design critiques this past year, so I had a lot of requests from people asking me to help them improve their designs or advise them on how to create and develop better ideas and concepts. I enjoy helping people with that kind of thing.

What do you think will be the next big thing in print on demand?

I think personalization and customization will continue to grow and develop…and I think IP and copyright crackdowns are on the way too. 

Original designers and sellers will begin to tap into opportunities beyond just t-shirts and hoodies, making use of all the additional product options that are out there. 

We’ll see new and easier ways to sell via social media – like Instagram’s shopping features, YouTube’s Merch shelf and selling products whilst live streaming.

3 Things to watch out for in 2020

#1 Politics

In terms of trends, politics will obviously be a big one again. Anything you can do that takes from the election in some way is worth thinking about.

#2 Unique designs

As competition increases, designers need to offer something new and different – that means coming up with original concepts, approaches, and humor. Focus on flexing your ‘idea muscles’ so that you can create several original ideas quickly.

#3 Personalization

Creating designs, artwork or products that can be customized or personalized in some way, is worth exploring, as that will grow throughout 2020 and beyond.

Follow Michael here:

Fernando Sustaita

What trends affected you in 2019?

Honestly, I am not a trend chaser.  I am a strong believer in building a brand focused on a niche regardless of whether I’m Selling on Etsy or Shopify. 

I rarely pay attention to trends as they are most of the time short-lived, although I do respect people making a living this way. I prefer to create a customer base that I could continuously re-target instead of always focusing on customer generation. 

I still look to capitalize on holidays that are aligned to my niche but I prefer to avoid oversaturated phrases or popular phrases that could be trademarked. 

What was the most asked question from your community in 2019?

The most asked question in my group was which PoD supplier sells X, Y or Z and are they integrated with Etsy or Shopify. Etsy has become a great marketplace for PoD products but requires more unique products than just Gildan shirts. 

Helping my group members find those unique products for their stores was a huge part of their success.

What do you think will be the next big thing in print on demand?

I believe Print on Demand is reaching a maturity stage.  There is a success story almost every week of someone that made six or seven figures selling t-shirts online than ever before.  

There are new products created all the time, but the best sellers will always be Apparel, mugs, canvas, and jewelry.

I am a firm believer that the future of PoD is in customization. The store that offers the best customizable product for the price will win the market share.   

Before PoD, whenever we needed a gift we would make our budget work to buy a gift and leave money for wrapping and a Hallmark Card.  The card would have the message and the customization was adding our words and Name. Today PoD allows us to provide the gift and Hallmark card for the same price, giving more options to customers to choose from as we can offer a wide variety of products. 

3 Things to watch out for in 2020

#1 Trademarks

As the PoD industry grows there are more people looking to make money with a side business. This has driven some to misuse the USPTO by filing Trademarks for the most common phrases, some even ridiculous.  Trademarks were for the purpose of brand building, and not just to protect a phrase because someone made 100 sales and feel they own the rights to it.  So, I encourage everyone to always pay close attention to what you are selling. Make sure it is not trademarked or you could face your accounts being closed or even sued. 

#2 Politics

2020 is going to be probably the most divisive election year in recent history.  I am not a believer in trends but to be honest this one is unavoidable. Even if it comes to down to micro niches like Teachers for Bernie or Firefighters for Trump the will be plenty of opportunities.  Politics was a great money maker last presidential election season and this time it should be even better.

#3 Consumer needs

Pay close attention to your niche’s needs. You won’t sell the same products year-round, sometimes you may have to get inventive.  Hoodies may sell all year but sell the most in winter, just like beanies and sweaters. On the contrary, Tank Tops will sell great, only at the beginning of the Spring Break Season.  Focus your ads on seasonal products and not always the best sellers. You need to drive your customer to your store for the product they need at the moment; if they browse your store, they will find your bestsellers. 


2020 is an interesting year for PoD.  This is a leap year. The UN declared it the International Year of Plant Health. Brexit will most likely happen and we have the Summer Olympics – which are trademarked, so be careful not to infringe any laws. Nasa will have several rocket launches this year, including another Rover to Mars. There will be a Solar Eclipse in South America in December. August 18 marks 100th anniversary since women were able to vote and the 100th anniversary of signing the Versailles Treaty which ended WWI on January 10. September 6 will mark 400 years since the Mayflower sailed… and so much more.

Follow Fernando here:

Joe Robert – POD ninjas

What trends affected you in 2019?

Products Personalization was a trend that I was able to really take advantage of in 2019. It allowed me to really take my product offerings to the next level and curate a catalog full of products that were unique.

What was the most asked question from your community in 2019?

My most asked question was how to find a profitable niche to sell in.

What do you think will be the next big thing in print on demand?

I think personalized and custom products will continue to dominate what’s new in 2020. So many Shopify apps are being made that easily allow sellers to allow customers to upload their own photos or choose custom text or colors for product design. This is definitely a huge opportunity and I’m excited to see how it continues to evolve inside and his business.

3 Things to watch out for in 2020

#1 Facebook ad costs, they’re continuing to rise
#2 Your product choice

Because of rising advertising costs, you’ll want to make sure you’re selling something with high margins if you’re running ads.

#3 Saturation

So many people are jumping into this awesome business model. How will you differentiate yourself and really build a credible brand?

Follow Joe here:

Helen Kinson, Christina Sisson – Merch Money

What trends affected you in 2019?

We are a very trend-based business and for this year, PopSockets for phones were a big trend that resulted in steady sales on Merch by Amazon all year.  The Betsy Ross flag was another trend that took off around the 4th of July when Nike canceled the release of a sneaker with this flag depicted on it.  The 2020 election and Donald Trump were also significant trends this year.

Additionally, several trends that originated from TikTok and Instagram, such as the VSCO girl trend, were big in the fashion and print-on-demand industries. 

In print-on-demand, designers can immediately capitalize on trends more quickly than large brands can due to the simplicity of the process.

What was the most asked question from your community in 2019?

We get asked questions about all aspects of print on demand, but I would say that many people this year were concerned about trademarks and concerned about their artwork being copied.  Questions surrounded the topic of copy cats and what to do to protect your artwork from infringement. People also asked about what we can do to combat the escalating number of frivolous trademarks. It’s very important for sellers to understand the law and to take a proactive approach to protect their business. We support what the Trademark Watch Dawgs are doing and try to help in any way we can.

What do you think will be the next big thing in print on demand?

We believe that print on demand is still in its infancy.  We foresee many more years of growth with more customization options and a larger selection of products. I also believe more big brands are going to work print-on-demand into their regular business models.  Brands like Disney and Marvel, who currently partner with Amazon for print-on-demand, have no doubt seen the agility and expense reduction that results from a print-on-demand business model.

3 Things to watch out for in 2020

#1 Look for ways to differentiate yourself

Competition is ever-growing and it’s important to stand out from the crowd.  Political designs are going to create the largest opportunity in 2020, but in order to capitalize on this effectively, you’ll need to set yourself apart.  Free shipping is becoming something that customers expect and can differentiate your business, so consider offering free shipping to your customers in 2020 if you haven’t already. 

#2 Always be learning and growing

The industry can change quickly so pay attention to new products that come out and new ways to allow more customization of your products for your customers.  Don’t be afraid to be a pioneer in this industry and try something new, if you can be the first in the market with a new concept, you have a good chance of securing a large portion of the market share. 

#3 Seek out new and unique print-on-demand products

Really get to know who your ideal customer is and offer them a variety of print-on-demand products outside of t-shirt and hoodies. Customers are looking for new and unique ways to express themselves. Stay up-to-date on Printify’s new product offerings and try to be the first to the market when new products are introduced. 

Follow Merch Money here:

Justin Cener

 What trends affected you in 2019?

Personalized Products were my biggest winners this year. Adapting to this style of marketing and design was hugely important to keeping consistent revenue in the POD space. I believe personalization is becoming more and more desired by the customer every single month.

What was the most asked question from your community in 2019?

By far the most common question with Print on Demand is what is the most popular niche. It was an answer that changed monthly this year.

What do you think will be the next big thing in print on demand?

In the short term, I think we will see tons of more creative ways of combining passion-based niches with personalization.

Pets and personalized products are already super competitive, it’ll probably be something else that gets big in 2020.

In the long term, we will continuously see more manufacturers move towards print on demand and experiential marketing. This is a win for everyone involved – margins increase risk decreases for manufacturers and sellers.

3 Things to watch out for in 2020

#1 Rising Facebook Ad Costs

You’ll need to have a great site to convert at a higher level with the rising costs.

#2 Move fast on new products

Passion-based niches love buying niche products, and they go crazy for something new and unique. Move fast on new products!

#3 Stay up to date with what’s working

Join mastermind groups, participate in discussions on Facebook, ask questions, get active… this is the only way to truly master this business.

Follow Justin here:

We would like to say a huge thank you to all our experts for their valuable insights and for sharing them with you all. 🙏

Is there anything else you would like to add? Leave a comment.

Check Also

First 5 tasks to pass off to e-commerce freelancers

Rate this post First 5 tasks to pass off to e-commerce freelancers Wonder how ecommerce …