2020 Quarantine ECommerce Statistics and What It Says About the Future of Print on Demand

In 2020, when the pandemic was little known, many marketing reports predicted a shift in purchasing power towards e-commerce. Everyone expected international trading to prosper and become omnichannel, and social media transformed into active marketplaces (especially Instagram).

For print on demand companies, it seemed that the significant changes would take a long time. Back in 2019, there was growing skepticism towards Gen Z brands. Moreover, the boomer generation's practicality excluded online shopping and focused on traveling to the store. The increased focus on personalization and sustainability only gained momentum. How it was in 2020 and what changes 2021 promises - that's what we'll discuss below.

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2020 Print on Demand Statistics

What businesses should learn from last-year experience


Print on demand e-commerce statistics in 2020 showed stable annual growth. Global online sales grew by 20%, which equals $4.28 million. The market expanded in all directions and very slowly but confidently became an integral part of the user experience. The entrepreneurs doubted creating their websites or integrating with e-commerce platforms. Of course, among the huge number of platforms and tools to work with, it took some time to choose the best option. After the pandemic broke out and statistics became a sad asset, the entrepreneurs had to recover and radically change their development strategy. That's how the omnichannel concept appeared, that is, streamlined work on all sales channels. It wasn't easy to coordinate the work, but with the frameworks' emergence, such as PodZa, it became possible to freely manage e-commerce areas such as POD, dropshipping, and W&F.

2020 has seen significant changes in the mindset and priorities of consumers. Print on Demand statistics show that 36% of buyers prefer online shopping weekly, up from 28% before the pandemic. According to surveys, 40% of consumers have become more attentive to what they spend on their money. Incredibly, compared to 2019, the number of online orders for goods increased by 208% from 1 to 20 April 2020.

The main reason people have started shopping online is convenience. Free shipping, coupons and discounts, hassle-free returns, and fast ordering have become essential aspects of the customer experience. In turn, the store owners had to change the well-established operating principles and recreate the most intuitive and straightforward shopping process. Accordingly, the one who turned out to be more flexible to changes and innovative strategies began to lead the market.

The current situation forced people to change their ordinary life radically. Social distancing, homeschooling, remote work, and an inability to give your body such necessary physical activity have changed the lifestyle and demand for food, household items, and clothes. Of course, marketing was expected to become more authentic and focused. With the TikTok platform and popularity of personalized merchandise rise, the main trading potential has focused on meeting the Gen Z needs.

The best niche for print on demand has become the production of themed goods, which don't lose popularity in 2021. They focus on political and world events (pandemic and elections) - a prime example is an explosion of face masks and unique hygiene products' popularity. Meeting the demand for such products has become more critical than ever.

Let’s see what people consider as the most popular products:

  • T-shirts. They are always a trend. This is a basic element of a wardrobe, so that nothing can influence its long-term popularity.
  • Phone cases. With the iPhone SE release (2nd generation), phone cases have become more popular - especially personalized with a photo, logo, or a favorite slogan. Such non-intrusive details are meant to motivate the consumer to improve their psychological state.
  • Teacups. Remote work and abandoned trinkets in the office became the reason to buy new mugs to create the maximum comfortable environment. According to statistics, about 60% of people experience some emotional attachment to their favorite cup.
  • Hoodies. Surviving the quarantine wouldn't be so convenient if we didn't have the hoodie. It's an excellent option for any weather and different purposes. It’s very comfortable and cozy.

A print creates a very stylish base for things you can walk in, go on dates, and shop. So, why not making your life a little more colorful during these boring lockdowns?

how the pandemic influences pod

There is no doubt that the pandemic affected e-commerce; however, there will be a positive market growth trend of $4,891 million.

The demand for printed products continues to grow in proportion to the online sales increase. A global commercial printing market was valued at $411.99 billion last year. By 2026, it'll amount to 472.35 billion US dollars.

2021 was a year of adaptation and improvement. Simultaneously, the print on demand business hasn't lost its popularity and is still profitable. Now, advertising and usability of trading platforms have become the market driving force. Personalization and product assortment remains essential: as the pandemic still lingers on, and we continue working and learning remotely, shoppers have become painfully bored with watching mass-market standard clothing brands. They crave something unique and different.

2021 predictions for print on demand industry

Due to the constant ongoing marketplace evolution, print on demand companies must continuously introduce new goods and attract global suppliers. Such a strategy will help meet the changing needs of customers. For example, the flexibility brand transition to the organic and sustainable category bodes profits for entrepreneurs.

During COVID-19, there was an increase in online shopping for household and lifestyle goods. The same trend is observed now. People continue to transform their homes into places where they can feel safe with soft blankets, original pillow decor, unique T-shirt designs, and accessories.

Another feature that every entrepreneur should pay attention to is the multichannel trade. Different groups of users come to buy products from other platforms. Therefore, it's essential to develop your social networks and register in local directories. In 2020, it was quite difficult to control the orders flow from different platforms because the tools were so incomplete. In 2021, we can safely talk about uninterrupted online sales because such frameworks have completely adapted business processes to the entrepreneurs' needs. With PodZa it is much easier to run print on demand business, manage all technical and sales processes, and control third-party POD software. This year's main trend was the automation of time-consuming manual processes, such as managing delivery, invoicing, notifications, order list, etc. New sales channels that go beyond the usual online store will lead to an increase in conversions. Such eCommerce services as Shopify, Google Drive, ShipHero, Stripe, Vatapi have already gained huge popularity.

The most effective sellers should also think more about their target audience. That will be a helpful rule to remember before designing. The common mistake of creating typical and standard designs taught entrepreneurs a lesson in the past. Now, the leaders will be those who follow trends and create targeted profitable collections. The products' differentiation in a specific niche is a recipe for successful entrepreneurship.

Print on demand market size is constantly growing and evolving, so by following trends, evaluating the work of your competitors, and improving the products, it's entirely possible to reach unprecedented heights. It's worth using marketing tools to understand better in which direction to move. Collecting reviews, creating ambassadors for your brand, leading an active life in social networks, etc., can win such valuable audience attention.

This forecast for print on demand business is rather about the necessity of being flexible and adaptive to any circumstances: change of seasons, political power, health, and lifestyle - the faster and agile you are, the more chances you have to become successful.

May 4, 2021
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