Is Printables An Over Saturated Market? 

 January 31, 2022

By  Lynette



I found this question about printables being and over saturated market and thought it was an interesting one to explore. Here's the actual question.

“If you had to start your business from scratch today… would printables, journals, and other items you currently put out be the route you would take? Is it an over saturated market?”
over saturated market conceptual image


I Did Start All Over Again

And so I chose to begin again.

This is a fantastic question because I did start all over again in 2018 when I closed my tech business. I’d been offering website services and creating WordPress plugins for 18 years by then. My whole business identity is being the “tech go-to person”. When I started Thrive Anywhere, as you see, is a completely different business. You can’t get any different between tech and art.

​There’s a lot of personal backstory why I chose this route and I’ll spare you the details. But that story is why I chose this business. My answer is a resounding yes because of my personal journey.​

That's OK, but shouldn't you still do your research, consider at the market and so on?

Sort of. I knew this was a market that's been around for a long time. We may call it printables now, but that's not how I see them. I view them from the point of usage. People have been using planners, journals, workbooks and worksheets for a very long time. Before computers.

And no, computers haven't rendered writing, planning and working out things on paper obsolete. There's something incredibly valuable about putting pen to paper that engages us differently. The day we stop doing that, I honestly believe humanity would be in dire straits.

Sure, I did some keyword research, checked out competitor's sales, products and so on, but it wasn't a lot.

Over Saturated Market?

People running in competition

Every industry has competition. Lots of competition. Even if you are looking for a job, there’s always a ton of competition. No one looks for a job thinking there are too many people qualified for this job, so I’m not applying. I’ll find something else. Maybe some do, but I bet many don’t. Instead, you go into the job market looking to win and ace all the other applicants. The more competitive, the harder you'll try. That’s how I see it.

​The other thing is, no matter the business and how many people are in it, someone always comes along at a later stage and still does well. Sometimes, they even eclipse the existing competitors. Don’t think so? Let’s look at social media.

​When TikTok launched in 2017, huge players like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest and many smaller players were already in this space. Not to mention, the industry just witnessed the spectacular demise of Vine just a year before.

​>It’s easy to say, there’s too much competition, the competition is too large and formidable. Plus, there’s a history of short video platform not doing well. Clearly, TikTok made it work. And don't forget, MySpace came before Facebook.

​Here’s another example. My small town we have two Subways, and one Jimmy John’s, but last year, a new local sub restaurant opened up. Do we need another sub place? Probably not, but last I saw, they stay busy each day at lunch.

Interestingly, this last example about sub places is the correct definition of market saturation if you're speaking economics.

Let's Talk Economics

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By this definition, here are some markets that are saturated now.

  • Meal delivery services.
  • Cell phones.
  • eCommerce.
  • E-shirts.
  • Salad dressings.
  • Even real estate agents.

Does this surprise you? What does this mean?

Well, I'm no economist and certainly no braniac, but I think it's a mistake to think of markets as full or empty, black or white. Markets are fluid and complicated, affected by a myriad of things, from human behavior to governments, global politics and even global health.

Weirdly enough, the printables market is a fantastic example of a market affected (positively) by global health. Printables absolutely exploded because of the pandemic.

​So is the market saturated? Probably, if you go by the economic definition. And it has been for a long time. But that doesn't mean you can't play or survive in it. Personally, I don't care either way.

The key is to build your own audience. No matter what business you are starting, build your following first. And how do we do that? Ah! That’s another post altogether.

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