Niche Biz: Selling to the Godless

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Religiosity has declined in the U.S. by 13 percent since 2005, according to a new poll (PDF). The Millennial generation, born between 1981 and 2000, is the least religious yet, with one in four identifying themselves as religiously unaffiliated, atheist, or agnostic in a 2010 PewResearchCenter survey. That works out to about 15 million Americans who describe themselves as “convinced atheists,” more than many mainline Protestant denominations, Jews, or Muslims.

Is there a market for merchandise for the godless? Retailers who cater to evangelical Christians with items including books, apparel, gifts, and Bibles represent $4.63 billion annually, according to the Association for Christian Retail. Those who sell to nonbelievers tend to be small business owners who are true nonbelievers. While bumper stickers and T-shirts are obvious favorites, books about evolution, educational games for children, and science-themed jewelry also hold appeal, says Derek Colanduno, an Atlanta computer programmer who hosts a podcast for skeptics.

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