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Industry UpdateApril 7, 2021

Print on Demand Market Overview

Industry Update
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Jacob Adner talks about the print on demand market, including printing methods, types of products, and where Print on Demand fits in.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Jacob Adner, Founder and Head of Business Development at Digital on Demand, leading on demand printing fulfillment service. Our topic today is an overview of the print on demand market. Welcome Jacob.

Jacob Adner: Hey, John. Thank you. Happy to be here.

What Is Print on Demand?

John: Great. So Jacob, let’s go back to the beginning a little bit. Tell me what print on demand is and what that means?

Jacob: Print on demand, essentially, is a way of getting goods to consumers as fast as possible. And it’s a form of customization that allows people from anywhere and everywhere to customize products from drinkware to apparel with their favorite sayings, quotes, photos, you name it, something that personalizes the product and makes it them. Of course, on demand, meaning that product goes out as soon as possible. So within a couple of days.

Print on Demand Methods

John: Okay. And what types of methods of print on demand are there?

Jacob: So print on demand covers a swath of different methods. You could go with direct to garment printing. You could go with drinkware customization, which is what we focus on. Or you can go with laser etching. You can go with all different types of printing technology, but essentially, the goal is to be able to… or sublimation, for example, as well. The goal is to be able to take a product and make it yours in some way, shape or form, and it covers a wide variety of customization options.

Types of Print on Demand Products

John: Okay. You’ve mentioned a few of the different types of products that can be printed on with print on demand services. And you mentioned that you guys focus on drinkware, but in a larger sense, what are a lot of the different types of products that can be printed on demand?

Jacob:  Pretty much anything from… I mean, lately, of course, with the pandemic in mind, masks are an extremely popular canvas for customization, but probably the most popular form of customization would be apparel, followed very, very closely by drinkware.

So people take those two items anywhere and everywhere they go. And your t-shirt, or your sweatshirts, or your sweat pants, provide a great medium for self-expression as do drinkware and pieces of drinkware items. So you really can take that and express yourself and show it off to the world. Of course, today, mostly it’s over Zoom, but at the end of the day, it’s all about showing who you are with what you have. It ranges from political expressions to promotions of projects, or your own interests and passions. You name it, apparel and drinkware provide great canvases for that type of self-expression.

Print on Demand Drinkware Options

John: Right. So obviously, there’s a lot of companies out there that do apparel printing — like you said, t-shirts are super popular. But drinkware, you said is really the number two. What are some of the different types of things that people get printed on their drinkware and on what types of drinkware do you print on?

Jacob: We do everything from water bottles, to pint glasses, to tumblers, to wine tumblers, to sports bottles. Our Helix machine really enables us to customize tip to tip, full wrap, whatever you want, all over printing on various types of pieces of drinkware.

See our full line-up of Print on Demand Products

And it covers all types of beverages, right? So you have beer, you have wine, you have coffee, you have cold drinks, hot drinks, sports drinks. People need to be consuming beverages all day long, depending on the activity that they’re doing. And we cover basically every kind of vessel that would provide you the ability to consume those beverages and in those capacities, wherever you go. So we really cover everything. And as you mentioned, it is the number two product, right behind DTG apparel printing.

Digital Printing for Print on Demand Products

John: Right. So you guys now are Digital on Demand and you focus on digital printing. What is digital printing as compared to other types of printing processes?

Jacob: Right. So it’s actually, in a way it’s a more sustainable process. There’s not a ton of waste. It’s really quick. Other forms of printing processes, no. And I think the founder of Inkcups, Ben, will get into this, but the difference between sublimation and the laser etching is there’s a little bit…there’s way more set up. It’s more labor intensive, it’s more wasteful. So it really requires a lot of time and labor. It takes a lot to set those up. Whereas digital printing is extremely agile, doesn’t have a lot of waste, more sustainable. It allows for, even in some cases, more customization of a product. So you can grab basically the entire product and customize it, whereas other processes, it might be a little bit more difficult, especially laser etching. So it’s a really sustainable, fluid, agile process that enables us to customize whatever, wherever you want.

Learn more about the benefits of Print on Demand Fulfillment

John: Right. And you said that you have a…the Helix® machine allows you to print 360 degrees, all around the drinkware, as opposed to just being limited to stamping a logo on one side or something like that?

Jacob: Exactly. Yeah. So the Helix® machine enables us to cover the entire product, whereas laser etching or pad printing or screen printing, something like that, has its limitations on the surfaces, especially for drinkware.

Where Print on Demand Fits in the Marketplace

John: So where do you think that Digital on Demand, as a company, fits into the landscape of print on demand companies?

Jacob: So it’s interesting, because the e-commerce marketplace these days is sort of like the Wild West of the internet. So you have a number of different types of companies that will utilize services for fulfillment. So you’ve got e-commerce companies, you’ve got platforms, your market aggregators, so companies like Amazon, or Etsy or Redbubble, they are all sort of pulling products from all over the world together on their site. And they want to be able to get it to you quickly and as fast as possible.

So a fulfiller like us, sits in the background and receives orders via API when our systems connect with companies like that. So that you’re able to, in real time, submit an order that gets sent through to our system and we play in the background to then get that order and fulfill it and drop ship it as soon as possible. So we sit in the marketplace.

If you’re looking at it from a consumer’s perspective, you go online, you customize a product, you order it through one of the e-commerce companies. One of the e-commerce companies then takes that and shoots it to us, the fulfiller, and then the fulfiller, we print it and drop ship it back to you.

See our eCommerce Order Fulfillment Process in action

John: Right. So that makes it really easy for the fulfiller company that the customer is ordering from. The customer just sees that they’re placing the order and then they’re getting it shipped. And in terms of that company that they’re placing the order from, they don’t have to do any of that work, if you will, of printing it and shipping it. They’re just sending that order to you guys. And then you’re shipping it right from your facility to the customer. So it makes it really simple for them.

Jacob: Right. Exactly. So they’re the other facilitator and they take all the data, take all the necessary information and they do a lot of that filtration for us, which is good. So it’s sort of a symbiotic relationship, in that nature. So when we receive an order, it has all the correct information, so that we just need to be able to take it, and print it, and ship it. So it’s a symbiotic relationship, it works well, they drive the sales channel, we make it happen.

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Jacob. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Jacob: Absolutely. Thanks so much. Appreciate it, John.

John: And for more information about print on demand services, visit the website at or call (978) 224-7900.

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