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A new era for writing implement

Despite the advent of the Internet, laptops, cell phones and PDAs, the market of writing implements remains globally stable growing from between +2.5 and +5% depending on the region. Writing implements and accessories (ballpoint pens, fountain pens, roller point pens, felt pens, correctors, cartridges, etc.) dominate with around half the sales value and the highest growth potential, followed by markers and highlighters, colouring pens, crayons and lead pencils. Changes in habit brought about by modern IT have already have already caused a switch from faxes to emails, but writing implements continue to hold out. How can this be in the current digital era?

Putting pen to paper becomes sensual and amusing

In a new behaviour pattern, writing has be come a pleasure again and not so much a business chore. Not wanting to be left behind other means of communication, writing is reinventing itself in a highly innovative way. The sector is globally in the process of raising its sights and moving up-market. In terms of innovation, technology is as important as design. Comfort, quality of writing and appeal are three consistent criteria, but brands are also working on other more subjective factors such as the pressure of the tip, the shine of the ink or the quality of the pen's feel on the paper. Nibs are getting thicker and the palette of colours has expanded to include some fifteen or twenty shades thanks to ink gel. Glittered and scented inks have also emerged.

To each his own pen

Just like cell phones, pens are becoming customised to appeal their main targets such as children and teenagers. With product licenses obtained from high-profile family favourites such as Harry Potter and Arthur and the Minimoys, design is entrusted to manga authors who produce a range of limited series to start the race for differentiation.

The new needs of the writing market - shelf impact, branded articles, shape, small diameters, optimised production, customisation - are catered for by Sleever International specific capabilities, which have tempted leading brand names including Sanford, Bic, Staedtler and Conté.

Source WIMA, EWIMA, Asean, Institut GfK