Writing Instruments Market Grows Despite Digital Revolution

Posted on October 24, 2003

Sales of writing instruments have remained strong, despite the advancements and growth of popularity of the PC, Internet, PDAs and other such technology. As reported by the SHOPA (School, Home & Office Products Association) - WIMA (Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association) Flash Report, 2002 saw consumer spending reached $4.5 billion for the U.S. writing instruments market. The growth rate is approximately 3.7% over 2001's sales figures. Projections for 2003 have an expected growth rate of 5% over 2002.

Pens make up 50% of the market, with sales figures at $2.2 billion. With 25% of the market, markers and highlighters reached $940 million and $200 million, respectively. The rest of the market is made up of pencils (20% at $900 million), refills (4% at $200 million), and pen and pencil sets (1% at $50 million).

The growth of the market can be attributed to several factors; changes in the general business, educational environments and writing instruments industry, and the political and social outlook of the U.S. The most indicative sign of growth in the writing instruments market is the increase of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. 2002's GDP saw an escalation of 3.6% above the previous year, as the writing instruments market improved 3.7%.

Writing instruments have long been part of the everyday, and the familiarity that comes with it has provided loyal and dedicated consumers. With the increase of the market size, smaller businesses can discover and serve particular markets. The industry also allows for companies of varying sizes to enter the market and become good acquisition candidates. And the market is still discovering new niches, as with ergonomic-designed products, promotional/marketing items or luxury items.

In addition to the improvements of technology, there are other factors that may threaten the U.S. market. Such factors as a mature industry and international competition may stunt the growth of the market in the future. Because the writing instruments industry has achieved a well-developed and mature status, future domestic growth potential may be limited. Asia appears to be the chief challenger in the U.S. market, with China, India, Japan and Korea playing major roles.