Starting a T-shirt business can be an intelligent choice.
According to Grand View Research, the market for custom T-shirts was valued at over $4 billion in 2022 and will grow at a CAGR of 11.1% from 2023 to 2030.
However, picking the right niche or topic is very important.
In this article, we will share nine T-shirt niches that are becoming very popular.
But first, let’s look at how we discovered the top trending T-shirt niches.
How we found these trending T-shirt niches
Finding trending niches requires lots of research.
We first used Google Trends to see which T-shirt topics are becoming more popular:
Next, we looked at online shops like Etsy, Amazon, and eBay to see which T-shirt niches are selling well.
We also looked at social media like Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok. We searched for T-shirt hashtags and popular pages to find popular niches.
We checked print on demand suppliers like Gelato to see which T-shirt niches they say are popular.
Also, in our search for the hottest niches, we've noticed a trend: businesses, especially startups, are leveraging custom T-shirts as modern branding tools. (Source)
9 Trending T-shirt niches
Here are the top trending T-shirt niches!
1. Slogans or character-based T-shirts
When someone asks you, "What is your favorite TV show?" you probably have a few to tell about.
The same goes for most people!
Most of us have a TV show we really love, and therefore, there's an opportunity to sell slogans or character-based T-shirts related to popular TV shows.
According to Grand View Research, the increasing number of fans of TV shows is a major contributor to the growth of the custom T-shirt market:
For instance, television series such as Game of Thrones and Big Bang Theory have a huge fan base. The fans willingly spend a good amount on buying t-shirts or other apparel with their favorite dialogues or slogan printed on t-shirts.Grand View Research
This trend is expected to majorly contribute to the custom t-shirt printing industry's growth in the forthcoming years.
2. Sustainable and eco-friendly T-shirts
Eco-friendly T-shirts are becoming more popular as people care more about the environment.
A study by McKinsey & Company found that 67% of buyers like brands that are good for the planet.
These T-shirts use materials like organic cotton and are made in ways that don't harm nature. Businesses are also getting unique labels to show they are eco-friendly.
So, when buying a personalized T-shirt, choosing one that's eco-friendly is good for you and the Earth.
3. Vintage and retro T-shirts
Vintage and retro designs capture the essence of the past, and they've been making a comeback.
Inspired by the 70s, 80s, and 90s styles, these designs hold a nostalgic charm that resonates with many, especially young adults.
They show old-school fonts, faded colors, and iconic images or slogans of those times.
4. Inspirational T-shirts
Inspirational quote T-shirts are trending for several reasons.
They serve as personal affirmations, providing motivation not just to the wearer but also to those who read them.
Looking at the top trending shirts on Etsy reveals inspirational sayings are capturing hearts.
With phrases encouraging reflection, like 'This Is Just a Chapter, Not the Whole Story,' to motivational statements such as 'Yesterday, Now, Tomorrow.'
In times of uncertainty or challenge, such as during global events or personal struggles, people often look for small ways to lift their spirits and those around them.
Wearing a T-shirt with an empowering message is a simple yet effective way to do this!
5. Travel and tourism T-shirts
According to Travel Weekly, many people are ready to travel again, especially as tourism is expected to recover from COVID-19.
This situation is often called 'revenge tourism' because people want to travel more to compensate for the time lost during travel restrictions.
People show their excitement about traveling again by wearing travel-themed T-shirts. These shirts are becoming more popular as they reflect the joy of travelers.
6. Minimalistic T-shirts
Many T-shirts have bright colors and complex designs.
But there is a trend of simple designs called minimalistic T-shirts!
These T-shirts follow the idea of 'less is more' with simple pictures, few colors, and clean lines. They look stylish but straightforward.
On Redbubble, minimalist T-shirt designs are all the rage, striking a balance between subtle and statement-making.
The trend favors clean lines and limited color palettes, as seen in the geometric 'Celeste Mountain' and the sleek 'Formula Race Car' shirts.
Even pop culture nods, like the simplified 'Bob's Burgers' graphic, are pared down for maximum impact with minimal design elements.
7. Animals & pets T-shirts
Animal-themed clothing, especially shirts with designs of cats and dogs, is a popular trend.
People have a special affection for animals and enjoy expressing it through clothing.
However, because many people share this love for animals, the market for shirts featuring common pets like cats and dogs has become saturated with many of the same animals.
This saturation makes it hard for any one design to stand out.
Therefore, considering creating animal-themed shirts and thinking of unique designs or styles that set your products apart might be beneficial.
8. Food-themed T-shirts
Many people like T-shirts with pictures or drawings of food.
In particular, shirts showing famous dishes from different countries, colorful images of food, or funny sayings related to fast food are popular.
Instagram trends show a hunger for humor.
With witty slogans and playful graphics, these shirts are a hit among food lovers who enjoy expressing their culinary passions with a side of style.
9. Gaming T-shirts
The enormous gaming industry, which could be worth $321 billion by 2026, according to PWC, supports various merchandise, including gaming-themed T-shirts.
Popular games with millions of fans provide a substantial customer base for this niche.
What type of T-shirts are most popular?
Before we finish, let's look at the types of T-shirts people like the most.
Crew Neck T-shirts
Crew neck T-shirts are trending in print on demand fashion due to their versatile design.
They're a favorite for custom printing, as their simple style suits a variety of designs and colors.
This popularity aligns with the growth in digital textile printing, which is projected to reach a market value of $6.65 billion by 2030.
The technology's ability to print on fabrics like cotton and polyester efficiently makes crew neck T-shirts ideal for personalized fashion.
Long-sleeve T-shirts are practical for cooler weather and have become popular in the growing fashion market.
Their increasing demand is evident in the expanding global market, which is expected to grow significantly by 2026.
The versatility of long-sleeve T-shirts drives this trend: they're perfect for casual wear, sports, or outdoor activities, and their ample sleeve space is ideal for unique designs or logos.
Famous for their flattering cut, V-necks are a favored choice among many for enhancing the body's form.
Available in various colors, V-necks pair well with a range of bottoms, from jeans to skirts.
Trends indicate a steady interest in V-necks over time, suggesting their appeal remains strong in the fashion market.
Personalized T-shirts are popular for gifts and group events, but most sales come from businesses.
In 2022, over 67% of the custom T-shirt market's revenue was from the commercial sector.
Companies use these T-shirts for branding and as gifts, making them a big part of advertising strategies!
So, whether buying a single shirt or ordering for a company, personalized T-shirts are more than just fashion; they're a smart way to spread a message or build a brand.
Before we go to the final verdict, we've created a quick summary of this article for you so you can easily remember it:
- Opting for a specific niche in the T-shirt business is crucial for success, and you can identify trending niches through methods like Google Trends, social media analysis, and checking popular online marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon.
- Eco-friendly T-shirts that use sustainable materials like organic cotton are gaining traction, appealing to the 67% of buyers who prefer environmentally responsible brands.
- Vintage and retro T-shirts are returning, especially among young adults, capitalizing on nostalgia and styles from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
- Minimalistic T-shirts with simple designs and few colors are becoming increasingly popular, embodying the 'less is more' ethos.
It’s not just about choosing a niche; it's about understanding where that niche can take you globally.
The niches we discussed are not only popular now but are predicted to grow in the coming years.
Thank you for reading, and have a great day!
Want to learn more about POD?
Ready to move your print on demand store to the next level? Check out the articles below:
- Selling T-Shirts on Etsy: A Beginner’s Guide (2024)
- How to Protect Your Print on Demand Designs in 2024
- How to Move From T-Shirt Printing to Print on Demand in 2024
Plus, don’t forget to check out our in-depth how to start a print on demand business guide here!