On the contrary my observations have been different. The writing instrument industry is still selling strong, despite a thriving market for PC, Internet, hi-fi organizers, keyboard, keypad, touchpad and other such technology.
With the advent of technology, the writing instrument industry has got roller ball and ballpoint pens besides the traditional fountain pens. These writing instruments are durable, with long lasting ink, and have smooth tips that will give effortless writing. These pens can survive for years, kudos to technological improvement where the kind of raw material, metals and inks used while manufacturing these pens makes it more consumer friendly. The internal mechanics have improved the point where durability of a pen has been substantially improved over time. There are even versions of specialty pens that can write upside down and underwater.
It is sometimes thought that students like using the online method of writing, but ideally it’s been seen that students are still fond of writing their exams with pens. Nowadays there are several varieties of writing instruments that students get to choose.
The biggest market for pens in the world is North America which is considered as the most developed nation in the world. I think this can be the best example to ascertain the future of this industry. I feel there is still a vast scope and long future for the industry, if you consider the large list of the developing economies like Africa or South East Asian countries. As far as the domestic market is concerned; the market is growing at about 5% every year on account of increase in population as well as literacy.
The writing instrument segment has made a strong blooming impact with corporates and increasing number of students being the largest consumers. The present global economic crisis has not had a very significant impact on the writing instrument industry, especially in the mass (Rs.10) and the mass premium segment (Rs.10-20), as because the category is sort of an essential commodity and hence exhibits a consistent and inelastic demand pattern.
Talking about Linc pen as a brand it is one of the top 3 players in the organized writing instrument industry and is currently registered in more than 50 countries which include markets like the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa. Linc Pen also supplies to global retail chains such as Wal Mart, Asda and Tesco for their private label business. The industry size is estimated at around Rs 2600 crores, out of which about 2000 crores is estimated to be in the organized sector. Linc Pens has an estimated market share of 10% of the overall organized sector. We would be the third largest player in this sector and the market leader in the Eastern Zone.
Linc Pen has clocked a turnover of Rs.270 crore in 2011 - 2012. Linc Pen boasts of an excellent distribution network across the length and breadth of the country with a presence in every state and over 3050 stockists.
Overall I can vouch that in spite of any technological advancement, the pen industry withstood the sands of time and no matter what, pens would be an indispensable part of our daily lives.
(About the Contributor: Mr. Deepak Jalan is Managing Director of Linc Pens & Plastics Pvt. Ltd.)
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