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How The Stationery Business Is Evolving In India

Youth has begun to infuse their own individual style into the stationery they purchase notebooks are not as boring as they used to be – with fancy covers, selfie upload options & different cover textures available to those who want to get noticed.

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The stationery industry is growing at the rate of 8 per cent a year.

The stationery industry is a mixed group of categories catering to schools, colleges and offices. It includes both paper (notebooks, long books, spiral books) as well as non-paper stationery (pencils, pens, poster colours, etc.). The overall industry is growing at the rate of 8 per cent a year, with new products & formats being added in every now and then. Increase in literacy, mushrooming of private schools and other institutions, burgeoning corporate offices, heightened awareness among children, the introduction of premium stationery offerings and other factors all contribute to this growth story.

Scholastic Paper category is approximately 5000 Cr while the non-paper category also amounts to roughly the same number (of this, 2500 Cr is just pens). Different product categories cater to different life stages, for example –  colour ranges cater to primary and middle school students, senior school & college students consume long books, pens & mathematical instruments while corporates generally use diaries, notepads, staplers, etc. The stationery consumption also differs greatly from market to market, since it is governed to a great extent by school & institutional requirements which are indigenous to the region’s educational heritage. 

The paper segment is highly fragmented and the ratio between local players and branded products is about 70:30, whereas, in the non-paper category, the same ratio is flipped in favour of established national brands.

The category has its end users, influencers & purchasers often very distinct. Earlier, parents were both influencers & purchasers with children having little say in which brand and what design of books or type of pencil that he/she would take to school. However, now, with pester power from children, they are often both the influencers & end users. Youth has begun to infuse their own individual style into the stationery they purchase notebooks are not as boring as they used to be – with fancy covers, selfie upload options & different cover textures available to those who want to get noticed. School teachers and art instructors are also emerging as key influencers. The rise in digital content surrounding stationery products & its use has also introduced an entirely new breed of influencers & reviewers who often sway purchase decisions.

Increasingly, as buyers evolve and premium products are developed to suit the consumer’s needs, properties such as better quality paper, minimalistic designs, a richer and wider range of pigments in paints and crayons, environmentally friendly material, etc. are gaining popularity. Seeking value for money and not satisfied with cheap local brands, the Indian customer is gradually shifting from inexpensive to quality products which he/she can connect to. Awareness of good brands in this low-involvement category was a hurdle in the past as the customer and retailer were both unaware, but the business is evolving rapidly through the use of marketing tools – many of them digital. Today, the industry looks well set and is scripting a bright future.

Thus, the treatment for stationery when it comes to communication has also been going through a sea change. Brands today portray their products & USPs with the consumer & their aspirations in mind. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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