This week, Amazon revealed the launch of print on demand phone cases for select iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models.
Understandably, this big announcement generated a wave of excitement about the arrival of a new product and eagerness to gain access to the ability to sell these popular mobile device accessories.
For those who aren’t excited by this development (many sellers believe that nothing will approach the profitability of tshirts on MBA), I’ve got some news for you.
You see, the phone case market isn’t nearly as small as you may think it is.
In 2019, more than 1.5 billion mobile phones were sold around the world (every year, in comparison, an estimated 2 billion tshirts are sold).
What do people tend to buy when getting a new smartphone? A new case.
In addition to the staggering worldwide appetite for smartphones, many owners have more than one smartphone case. Some people, in fact, change them regularly. Younger consumers tend to acquire mobile accessories (cases, PopSockets, etc.) with tremendous frequency. Even though the typical consumer doesn’t upgrade their smartphone every year, new cases and PopSockets make old phones feel new again. And this is why the smartphone case market is extremely lucrative.
In short, if you’re not excited about this new product, you should be. To top it all off, Q4 is coming. And smartphone accessories are commonly gifted items that always see a significant sales spike around the holidays.
In the coming weeks, as Amazon enables phone case publishing on a rolling basis, we’ll be hearing lots of questions about specs, templates, and formatting artwork for cases.
Then, the next big question will come. And it will never stop being asked. The question? What types of designs sell on smartphone cases?
Having closely watched this market for years (and having sold smartphone cases in POD for the last few years), I’m excited to have this discussion and answer your questions. And there’s no better time than now to help frame your insight into the phone case market.
In my experience and based on closely watched trends, keyword data, and empirical evidence gleaned from fellow eCommerce sellers specializing in mobile accessories, there are three design and creation opportunities to watch as you dive in.
Tshirts have long been viewed as wearable billboards of sorts. And MBA designers have made fortunes catering to activist audiences with political, social, and cultural messages to express.
Very few creators in POD see mobile device accessories as adequate or appropriate canvasses for activist expressions or statements. In reality, everything from political party affiliation to environmental advocacy can drive extremely strong sales in this product category.
I can tell you with absolute confidence that short, pointed, strong, and sometimes even highly opinionated messages about issues and ideas are a recipe for success with smartphone cases.
Positive All The Way
In the apparel space, messages that are mean, macabre or morose sell surprisingly well.
When it comes to smartphone cases and PopSockets, lighthearted designs rule the landscape.
While there are certainly some exceptions to this observable pattern, messages and imagery that are upbeat, positive, or inspiring are definitely leading sales over gloomier and darker themes.
Cases That ‘Pop’
If you don’t know where to start with selecting niches, messaging, or imagery for smartphone cases, look no further than your PopSocket catalog.
In my experience, just about anything that sells on a PopSocket will also sell on a smartphone case. Similar to the concepts described above, lighthearted themes that give off strong positive vibes and messages of confidence (in oneself or a set of beliefs) will always stand a great shot at finding buyers.
In the weeks ahead, I’ll be addressing our newest Merch By Amazon product in greater detail, with additional emphasis on creative ideas and leads to help you hit the ground running on smartphone cases.