College and university-themed t-shirts: How big are they on Amazon Merch on Demand?

College and university-themed t-shirts aren’t just garments. They’re statements, badges of academic honor, and a fashion-forward way for students and alumni to showcase their heritage.

Naturally, this niche attracts attention on Amazon Merch on Demand, where sellers look for creative ways to win traffic and boost sales.

In the following sections, we dive into the captivating world of college-themed merch and explore how popular these t-shirts are.

Merch Informer Note: Make sure you have a license to use any intellectual property of any college or university. This article is for learning purposes only.

The size of the market analyzed in detail

To understand how big college and university t-shirts are on Amazon, it’s essential to examine a few key metrics:

  • Number of listings
  • Average BSR
  • Search volume

These metrics will help determine if the niche is well-developed and open to more competition.

The more saturated a segment, the harder it will be to penetrate as a new entrant. At the same time, saturation is also linked to high demand.

To make the right choices, you’ll need access to a powerful business intelligence tool that offers real-time insights.

Throughout our research, we relied on Merch Informer’s features and capabilities. The software helped us unearth accurate data behind these metrics.

Let’s move on to our findings.

Number of listings

The number of listings in a niche, or the listing saturation, reveals its level of competition. A highly saturated market can be more challenging to dominate in.

Using Merch Informer’s Merch Hunter tool, we examined how many bestsellers rank for the words “college” and “university” in the t-shirt category. We uncovered that 500 products are ranking for both terms.

This signals for a large segment, with thousands of competitors. At the same time, it implies that there is enough demand to incentivize sellers to actively pursue ways to outshine others.

Average BSR

Next, we analyzed the average Best Seller Rank (BSR) of top-performing listings. This information is valuable as it shows the sales potential of the niche.

The 500 bestsellers rankings for “college” have an average BSR of 345,994, while those rankings for “university” – 353,446.

These numbers are low enough to deserve attention from a merchant’s perspective. They reveal that sales volumes are high in this domain, meaning that you can enjoy fruitful gains.

It also becomes clear that the performance of both keywords is nearly identical, with “college t-shirts” slightly dominating.

Search volume

So far, we’ve concluded that college and university t-shirts are highly competitive and they have significant potential.

But are they trending among shoppers? Are buyers actively browsing for these items?

The best way to find out is to observe theme-related keywords and evaluate their search volume.

Interestingly, Merch Informer doesn’t display any phrases related to “college shirts”. Instead, we used the synonym word “grad” from “graduation”.

Here are our discoveries:

  • hbcu grad shirt – 8,795
  • grad shirt – 3,460

Contrary to expectations, the search demand for this product type is not very high.

The results for “university”, however, show something different:

  • syracuse university shirt – 38,891
  • depaul university shirt – 18,157
  • yale university tshirt – 9,911

Right off the bat, the dramatic difference in search volume becomes clear.

Nearly 40,000 consumers search for “syracuse university shirt” every month as opposed to only around 8,000 for “hbcu grad shirt”. Depaul and Yale are also universities accumulating a lot of search traffic among buyers.

What this means is that competing in the college and university t-shirt domain requires niching down even further.

As opposed to marketing your designs as solely college or university-based, it’s highly recommended to target a specific institution IF you have the rights to do so (remember, you will need to have a license).

This strategy will allow you to reach a wider audience and increase traffic and sales.

The market prices you should know about

Once we’ve established that there are attractive possibilities in the college and university t-shirt space, it’s essential to cover pricing.

The price of your listing can make or break your performance in this niche. By understanding the minimum, maximum, and average prices in the market, you can position your merch designs strategically.

According to Merch Informer, top-performers ranking for “college t-shirts” have the following prices:

  • Lowest price – $12.95
  • Highest price – $59.99
  • Average price – $22.38

The prices of “university” bestsellers are similar:

  • Lowest price – $12.99
  • Highest price – $59.99
  • Average price – $25.52

Assuming that you’re a new player in this segment, we recommend pricing around the average. This will enable your listings to appear as affordable choices but won’t create assumptions of low quality.

In this case, the average price is between $22 and $25.50. This means that you can expect to earn royalties from $7 to $9 per sale.

A look into the bestsellers in the space

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to identify whether the chart-topping listings are applying these insights to achieve greater performance.

The number one t-shirt design on Amazon Merch on Demand is “HBCU Historically Black Colleges Universities Grad Alumni T-Shirt”. It sells for $16.98 (significantly below the market average) and has a BSR of 15,693, translating into 189 monthly sales.

With royalties of $1.93 per sale, this listing lands revenues of $365 every month.

Dissecting the title, we can see that the top-searched-for keyword “HBCU” appears, together with “grad” and “t-shirt”. The seller is widening the target audience even further, by mentioning “alumni” and “historically black”.

We can see similar patterns for the number one listing ranking for “university” – “USC University of Southern California American Flag Trojans T-Shirt”. Priced at $18.99 (again, below the average), this design has a BSR of 11,977 and scores 243 monthly sales.

Working out the maths, it becomes clear that the merchant is earning royalties of $850 from this product.

This title also targets a specific institution – USC University of Southern California. The seller diversifies the keyword use by adding “American flag” and “Trojans” in the mix. This approach further helps boost rankings and increase visibility.

Exploring the leaders, we noticed something interesting.

The second top-performing listing for “university” is “University of Washington Huskies Logo T-Shirt”. Unlike the previous two examples, its price is $49.95.

Despite this price being lower than the highest in the market ($59.99), it’s still much higher than the number one bestsellers.

The BSR of the listing is 24,789, rewarding it with 108 monthly sales.

The maximum price at which Amazon lists t-shirt royalties in the US is $25.99, where each sale earns the merchant $9.32. Anything above this price is to yield the same returns.

From this perspective, it’s advisable to stick to the average price in the niche. This approach yields comparable per-sale profits to the highest price. The crucial difference lies in the impact of affordability on the purchasing decisions of most shoppers.

Tips for entering the college and university t-shirt niche on Amazon

Based on our findings, we’ve curated a short and sweet list of tips for tapping into the college and university t-shirt space.

These best practices will empower you to quickly gain popularity, attract the right buyers, and enjoy fruitful rewards.

  • Niche down – Our research proves that selecting the college or university that won’t be enough. It’s vital that you create designs centered around a specific institution. Choose popular university and college names that trigger a lot of traction among shoppers.
  • Price around the market average – Insights from Merch Informer reveal that bestsellers positioned near the average and maximum rates in the market generate similar royalties per sale. It’s therefore more strategic to ask for a price closer to the average. This will make your design competitive and won’t harm your earning potential.
  • Optimize listing titles for diverse keywords – All three top-selling examples we analyzed share one thing in common. They don’t limit their keyword use to the main themes, like “Yale” or “university”. Instead, they add other descriptive words that will help consumers find their products easily. This positively impacts rankings and makes listings discoverable on Amazon.

Wrapping up

College and university-inspired t-shirts are a merch trend that you can benefit from throughout the whole year.

However, to stand apart from the crowd, you’ll need to approach design creation and listing optimization strategically.

At $9.99 per month, Merch Informer offers key data and analytical insights that will help you make the right choices along the way.

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