Let’s be honest.
It’s quite common for online creators to neglect a data-driven approach when choosing merch items to sell in their online store.
The truth is:
Research is crucial when you decide to start selling merch because the right items cannot only earn you more money but also boost your marketing.
The problem is that it can take a big chunk of your precious time.
To help you out, we’ve gathered our own list of top trending merchandise items to sell online in 2021. We’ll also show you product popularity and profitability so that you can choose the best merch for your online store.
T-shirts have withstood the test of time among all merch items.
A t-shirt is an important part of anyone’s wardrobe and is the base of streetwear style that’s thriving in 2021. That said, out of all the products to sell, the t-shirt is something people will expect to see on your online merch shelf.
I can prove it with the numbers:
In 2020, the global print-on-demand t-shirt market size exceeded $3 billion. And it’s not going to change anytime soon—the custom t-shirt printing market value is expected to reach $7.57 billion by 2028.
So, a t-shirt with a trendy design is a perfect example of a high-demand product to sell online.
2020 has forever changed the role of comfortable and casual clothing in the world of fashion. With the rise of unisex and oversized clothing, we’ll definitely see sweatshirts, hoodies, joggers, and other sportswear trending in 2021.
Check this out:
According to the recent NPD Group research, 31% of total apparel spendings in the US is forecasted to represent items like sweatshirts, sweatpants, active bottoms, sleepwear, and socks. Plus, the steady growth of Google searches shows that that leisurewear is not going anywhere, except into everyone’s outfits.
Designing a line of trendy hoodies or sweatshirts is an absolute must for a merch store in 2021. If you already have a perfect design idea in mind but unsure of how to bring it to life, head over to our article on how to design and sell custom merch.
3. Home decor
The global COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown situation has revealed a strong need for decorating our homes. People have never spent so much time indoors making home decor a hot trend—it’s likely to stay in the market for quite some time.
The best part about selling homeware as merch?
Such products have zero seasonality, which means that you can sell them successfully all year long.
Why not take it one step further?
Since the global pandemic has turned so many homes into home offices, you can help your target audience make them cozier. Create and sell some cool posters, mugs, pillows, and blankets with matching designs that will remind people to take breaks from work once in a while.
4. Tote bags
A reusable tote bag is also one of the trendiest print-on-demand products to sell from your online store. Forbes has even called it the new must-have luxury item.
There’s a simple explanation for this:
A tote is a perfectly versatile and eco-friendly product. You can use it as a reusable shopping bag, carry your schoolwork, or simply use it as a street fashion accessory. Plus, a picture with a cute canvas tote bag on your social media is a great way to show that you’re all for sustainability.
Will people buy it from you?
In a 2021 survey, 27% of respondents said that they tried out a new product for sustainability reasons and 25% spent more money on sustainable fashion items.
5. Embroidered sweatshirt
Every fashion trend eventually comes back (you can read more about it here). While there are some things that’d be better lost and forgotten, it may happen that a long-gone oldie is just the right thing for your print-on-demand business.
Here’s a great example:
Custom embroidery has returned in all its might and glory and embroidered apparel has taken up a noticeable part of the market.
In the age of fast fashion, even a small embroidered detail adds that little extra twist to an otherwise simple outfit.
You could try combining embroidery with highly profitable streetwear products like an oversized sweatshirt or a hoodie—unisex clothing is projected to grow by $65.6 billion over the next year.
Here’s something surprising:
A mug is often an overlooked yet very popular product. In a survey done by the Heinz company, nearly 60% of people said they had an emotional attachment to their favorite mug.
And I bet you can relate to this.
There’s no better way to start a morning without sipping coffee out of your favorite mug.
So, offering mugs with unique designs to your audience doesn’t seem like such a silly idea after all, right?
You can’t go wrong with adding hats to your merch selection.
The reason is simple:
The hat is a perfect accessory that’s equally practical and fashionable. Plus, you can wear the same hat all year long, which again makes it an eco-friendly product:
65% of consumers say they want to buy products that advocate sustainability. That’s why many established brands are moving away from seasonal fashion and going towards clothes that are more versatile and can be worn for longer.
Apart from obvious practical reasons, a hat can be styled to fit any niche or occasion.
The bucket hat is a very popular choice of streetwear, that frequently pops up on catwalks everywhere. Also, don’t forget that you can also add custom embroidery to a hat and make it a really bold piece.
8. Phone cases
We rarely think about it, but everyone has a mobile phone.
But is the phone case a profitable product?
In 2020 phone case sales exceeded $10 billion, and are expected to grow 7.5% each year until 2025, reaching $35.5 billion. So, according to these numbers, you won’t be lacking customers if you decide to add phone cases to your merch selection.
You can put a sticker anywhere you like: on laptops, guitar cases, bags, hats, coffee tables, etc.
Apart from being popular, smaller items like stickers are much cheaper than t-shirts or hoodies, which automatically makes them a great option for fans who might be tight on cash but want to support you. Everybody wins.
A sticker pack is a must-have product for every brand’s online store. It may not only boost your merch sales but also help your marketing. People who see stickers used by your fans and followers could become a free advertisement for your brand.
10. Face mask
Do I even have to mention why face masks have become such a high-demand product?
Let me just tell you this:
By 2021, face mask sales have reached a record-high $4.5 billion, and the market is expected to surpass $21.2 billion by 2026.
A lot of brands have immediately jumped on the opportunity and turned this safety item into an unexpected fashion accessory—quite successfully too. Just like any other accessory, face masks are now helping fashionistas worldwide to style their looks.
Get ready to sell trending merch online!
With the rapid growth of online shopping and the overall willingness of people to support their favorite online creators, 2021 is the best time to create and sell merch.
Sellfy is a perfect tool for everyone who’s looking to create and sell custom t-shirts and other merchandise hassle-free whilst having full control of your business. For a reasonable monthly fee, you’ll get a 100% customizable store, awesome built-in marketing tools, helpful customer support, and the possibility to sell your products anywhere.
We hope that our list inspires you to start creating and selling merch that stands out and will break all the records in 2021.
Aleksey is a Content Marketing Specialist at Sellfy. He loves using language and the power of words to make even the driest eCommerce topics fascinating. Using his degree in literary studies and passion for the latest trends, he creates well-researched and structured content to inspire other people and help them grow their eCommerce business.