Despite the growing popularity of electronic devices among school-aged children, writing instruments are still a force to be reckoned with in the classroom, at least in the US.
According to research firm NPD Group, the American office and school supplies industry grew 3% in 2015 to $12-billion, with $1,2-billion stemming from online sales.
The bulk of the industry’s revenue came from the writing instruments category, which represented 20% of total industry sales, and was the thrust behind its growth in 2015; the category experienced dollar and unit growth of eight%, and seven%, respectively.
“From writing to adult colouring, a number of exciting trends emerged and re-emerged in 2015 which helped grow dollar sales for key players in the office supplies industry. These trends continue to have a positive impact on sales,” says Neen Nsouli, office supplies industry analyst at the NPD Group.
Amidst the digital migration being seen across industries, the traditional writing category has managed to grow and, at the same time, evolve with the times, as new products on the market show.
Traditional pen sales grew 5% during the year, and specialty pens by 11%.
In line with the adult colouring book trend, dollar sales of porous, gel, and multi-coloured pens were up by 28%, 9% and 8%, respectively.
Coloured pencils were also popular items, with sales up 40% for the full year.
Consumers are also spending on fine writing instruments, and increased their spending by nearly $2,5-million on fountain, gel, and ballpoint pens compared to what they spent on these products in 2014.