The US stationery market has demonstrated steady growth over the past five years, with value sales dipping only slightly in 2008, and increasing by 1% through 2012.
Technological advances, such as email, continue to negatively affect the industry, and environmental awareness has also thinned out orders. As a result, revenue is expected to decline over the next five years.
Technological developments have been both friend and foe to this industry. On one hand, computerisation of systems has improved operational efficiency for wholesalers and prompted development of computer-related office products; however, it has reduced the overall need for office stationery and supplies.
Growing reliance on computers and other electronic equipment at homes and offices has decreased the amount of stationery consumed by Americans, reducing demand for industry products.
Stationery is being incorporated as part of the 'home' or lifestyle collections of a brand, alongside small items of furniture, bedding, towelling and other items that attempt to marry designer brands with home interiors. Major fashion labels have incorporated branded stationery as another effort to expand their lifestyle presence.
The growth of independently-owned stationery boutiques (particularly in affluent urban areas) and artisanal designs of stationery for holidays, party planning and other special occasions, has helped to revitalise interest in craft stationery.
High sales volumes and low profit margins have ever since characterized the market for stationery products. Nevertheless there exist a few high-profit offerings, particularly in the writing instrument segments such as fountain pens and luxury pens.
Seasons and cyclic trends still play a major role in determining the changing growth and consumer buying patterns in the industry. Special occasions and back-to-school seasons continue to keep retailers busy. Brand value does have a major impact, particularly with fashion conscious school children, with their leaning more towards high-end, premium, expensive and well-branded products.
Weaker-than-expected growth prospects for the US economy, perhaps engineered by contagion effects from the European debt crisis (home to the most prominent global luxury groups) could result in weaker growth prospects for the US stationery industry over the coming years.
For more information on the US stationery market, see the latest research: US Stationery Market
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