The year 2022 saw the advent of several new trends that created profitable niches in the T-shirt online store market. However, for a couple of them, if you were as much as a few days late, you missed out on a great way to make thousands of dollars in profit.
But that’s all in the past.
We are here to help ensure that you do not miss out on the opportunity in 2023 by sharing this list of the 6 most profitable t-shirt niches of the year.
Using these 6 t-shirt niches, you can get a head start on creating and uploading your products to your online store in 2023.
Travel and Tourism
The first t-shirt niche market that is predicted by actionable data (tourism, in general, is expected to rise by 30% this year!) to take off in 2023 is travel and tourism (tourism shirts).
With the past few years of travel limited by various factors, in 2023 we’re seeing something that is termed by many as “revenge tourism“.
This is a causative action where people are upset that they haven’t been able to travel and just decide that no matter what they’re going to do so in 2023. This presents a great way to carve out profitable t-shirt niches for print-on-demand and your t-shirt online store.
You can target cities and countries that people will be traveling to and find places currently compelling to tourists and growing in popularity.
To achieve this a simple search for “popular destinations in 2023” will reveal hot spots. Alternatively, you can even take already popular tourist attractions or locations and add things like 2023. For example, you can create shirts like “Vacation Dubai 2023” or “My Dad Got Me this I Love Malibu Shirt in 2023”.
Now it may seem that it makes more sense for people to buy these tourism-style shirts while they are actually on vacation. But the data says otherwise, as some people buy tourism items like t-shirts before traveling either so that all family members match for a vacation or just for the fun of it.
So consumers can go to an online store like Etsy to look for unique vacation items that they can wear to their spot or will commemorate where they went.
If you offer personalization packages for your shirts, a great way to do this is through vacation items. For example, you can put the names of family members traveling or the last name of travelers on the shirts. This way you can customize your t-shirts and make extra profit for your online store.
Elections and Politics
This is one of the profitable niches that will undoubtedly blow up in 2023. But you’ll need to keep an eye on it throughout the year.
As with every election season, the country becomes more divided than ever. However, this means there are a lot of opportunities to sell politically themed t-shirts because people enjoy showing off what party, policies, and the candidate they support.
Although 2023 isn’t an election year, it is the year before the elections, which means there is a lot of traction in the political niche. This is because there are so many candidates that are either declaring for office or coming out of the midterm elections with a lot of people standing behind them.
So the election and political niche is one you’ll want to keep an eye on for the entire year. It’s already huge but as the year progresses and people are musing on the general elections that’ll take place in 2024 and which candidate they prefer this is going to get huge.
So you’ll want to stay on top of the political scene by staying abreast of the latest news and different candidates. Plus, regardless of which side you’re on this presents a great way to make a good profit for your online store.
Second Hand Purchase (Thrifting)
The next t-shirt niche that’s going to do very well in 2023 is secondhand and thrifting. A lot of people are generally reining in their spending and with more attention to the climate and people wanting to make greener choices, there has been a huge transition to thrifting, antiquing, secondhand, and reusing what you already have.
Though it may seem counterintuitive or ironic, a lot of consumers who are into garage sales, antiquing, and thrifting are searching for products that show off their hobbies or lifestyle choices.
There are a lot of options here. For example, a specific niche would be shirts for antiquers or people who love garage sales. You also have the opportunity to make extra profit off shirts that are already doing well like “Save the Planet” shirts or ones with phrases on actions that are generally greener.
So this is a niche to watch in 2023 and you’ll want to start making a lot of designs here.
In addition, this isn’t just what many people are interested in doing. With Gen Z, thrifting has become trendy and cool, almost like a status symbol.
Gen Z Comedy
That brings us to this next niche – Gen Z humor shirts.
Gen Z is getting older, which means increased spending power. And with the rise of apps like Tik Tok, Gen Z is driving the majority of consumer habits that will emerge this year and will continue to do so next year.
Though there have always been sarcastic and funny shirts, which are considered an evergreen niche, there is a definite shift as to what those types of t-shirts say.
If you aren’t familiar with Gen Z comedy or are simply not certain about the kind of humor, most of it tends to be dark humor, dry memes with a focus on aspects like existential dread. Most of such humor sometimes doesn’t even come off as funny but it’s just out there.
Some examples of shirts in this niche that we’ve seen doing well are, for example, a pretty graphic like a flowery garden or sunshine with a phrase like “Take in the sunshine because the apocalypse is coming”. Just dry humor that’s contrasted with hilarious elements.
There are always new trends popping up with Gen Z so you’ll want to stay on top of new slangs trending on platforms like Tik Tok. Numerous opportunities in this evergreen niche will pop up during the year because of how fast Gen Z trends evolve.
Also, a lot of millennial sarcastic shirts are starting to decline in sales and there’s a rise in demand for dark and dry humor shirts.
Hobbycrafts and Homesteading
During the COVID-19 lockdowns, there was a rise in homesteading and making things from scratch, which has exploded to a whole new level. More people are looking to make things on their own and have simpler lives. This is primarily due to the economy as a lot of people are having to rely on self-made goods because they can’t afford to get them from the store.
We’ve also seen a revitalization of aspects like bread making, canning, crocheting, and old-time hobby crafts like knitting. This is along with people having real hobby craft farms on their property for raising pets like goats and animals.
So this niche comes with opportunities to make shirts for people interested in these old-time hobbies. Target consumers here would be people who want to live a simpler life or have these old-time hobbies and want to show off their lifestyle. A specific niche for your online store can be something like “ You’re Looking at a Knitting Pro!”.
Vintage (Retro and Nostalgia)
To piggyback off the previous niche, the next one that’s going to do super well in 2023 is a return to all things retro, nostalgia, and vintage.
With everything that’s going on in the world now, so many people are glamorizing the good old days or just looking back at their childhood to experience those nostalgic feelings again.
At the end of 2022, vintage styles and colors exploded and we don’t see that stopping anytime soon. Groovy 70s and 80s designs have skyrocketed in a couple of profitable niches. So you may want to use such designs (putting 60s to 80s graphics) on your shirts that are already doing well in other profitable niches.
We’ve also seen true vintage shirts from the 1940s and 50s also selling well. There’s just a general return to nostalgia. For example, video games from the 90s are used as t-shirt designs.
That said, while this isn’t very phrase-targeted, you may want to look at shirt designs like the style of shirts from such periods and then use that to create products for t-shirt niches that are already succeeding.
In general, target people who want to experience childhood nostalgia or the Gen Z crowd that views retro fashion as cool or simply desire to experience the period.
A lot of such retro items are sold to people who weren’t alive at the time. So this isn’t an age specific niche.
That’s a wrap! As we move forward in 2023, there are a lot of outdated t-shirt niche ideas that some online stores are trying to make work. These flat-out are not profitable niches and end up costing your business so you’ll want to stick to these top 6 niches of 2023
Emmanuel Egeonu is a digital marketing consultant/writer with vast experience in SEO & marketing for startups. He has helped numerous SaaS, eCommerce, and brick-and-mortar brands over the years with industry-relevant and winning digital marketing strategies that impact their online growth index positively.