Summary of our market study

The global writing instruments market, valued at $19 billion by 2025, is growing at a CAGR of 5.5 percent. Pens, which account for 75 percent of this market, are adapting to technological advancements with the introduction of smart pens. The luxury pen segment is witnessing growth due to its increasing perception as a luxury good, showing a 2.1 percent increase in sales. In Italy, the pen market saw a dip in production values in recent years, mainly due to a shift towards digital note-taking devices. Italy had a trade surplus in pens in 2020, with exports at $118.8 million and imports at $108.4 million, reflecting the pandemic's impact on international trade.

The Italian pen market, renowned for luxury fountain pens, is slowly declining in production, yet still sees a value tilt towards high-priced fountain pens. Student users, who represent the largest segment of pen users at 56 percent, drive the stable demand for writing instruments. Education levels and monthly household expenditure on stationery are significant demand drivers for the pen market. Moreover, there's a growing interest in eco-friendly pens made from sustainable materials, which is influencing consumer behavior. The demand is unevenly distributed geographically, correlating with the regional educational levels and household stationery expenditures. Major players in the market include international giants like BIC and Pilot, with significant turnovers reported for 2020.

Shifting Currents in the Italian Pen Market: Sustainability, Education, and Technological Influence

In the contemplation of the Italian pen market dynamics, it becomes evident that there is a synergy of factors influencing demand trends. Despite the technological eruption in the digital age curbing the absolute need for traditional pens, these writing instruments still command a significant market presence, particularly through differentiated and specialized offerings. The luxury segment, including coveted brands like MontBlanc and limited edition collectors' items from Montegrappa, largely attributed to a rise in pricing and an elevated positioning as luxury rather than mere utility objects. This points towards a sustained interest in high-end writing instruments, which often become collectors' pieces and are valued significantly higher, thereby playing a crucial role in holding up the market's value. It is estimated that this luxury sector operates in the millions, highlighting the considerable weight it holds despite its niche market size.

However, the Italian pen market is not solely buoyed by luxury products; students remain the predominant consumers. Accounting for approximately 56 percent of the pen market's expenditure, the educational sector's demand is pivotally driven by the number of individuals pursuing academic pathways. Data from the education sector reveals a noticeable discrepancy between regions within Italy itself, with the level of education correlating to the average monthly household expenditure on pens - higher education levels are observed in areas with a higher spend, signifying a direct correlation between educational engagement and pen usage. The Italian pen market is seeing an average monthly expenditure that fluctuates between less than €4 in some regions and almost €5 in others. Another crucial determinant of demand is the monthly expenditure of households on stationery products. Although the trend has been declining over the years, with an average monthly outflow on stationery dipping to less than €10, there is still a consistent investment in the pen market, particularly in segments such as fine ballpoint pens, fiber-tipped pens, and high-quality fountain pens, where each segment is seeing growth ranging from around 3.5 percent to around 28 percent. Within the spectrum of pen offerings, customization and environmental consciousness have become increasingly pertinent. Ecologically crafted pens, fabricated from recycled materials or sustainably sourced substrates like recycled paper, bioplastics, coffee remnants, and agricultural waste fibers, are garnering attention. The push towards sustainability reflects a shifting consumer priorities landscape, where the materials and production processes now play a crucial role in purchasing decisions. Geographically, the distribution of demand is uneven across Italy.

Key Players in the Pen Market: Driving Innovation and Craftsmanship

The pen market, known for both its traditional writing instruments and its evolving technology-enabled smart pens, features prominent players who have made substantial contributions to the industry. Companies like Henkel Italy, Pen Pilot, Staedtler, BIC ITALY, F.I.L.A., Montblanc, and the Parker Pen Company each bring unique strengths and offerings to the table, from mass-market products to high-end luxury goods.

  • Henkel Italy: With a broad portfolio that extends beyond pens, Henkel Italy is associated with a variety of consumer goods, including adhesives and office supplies. Henkel's presence in the market signifies the diversified approach that larger conglomerates have towards meeting consumer needs in the stationery domain.
  • Pen Pilot: As a global brand, Pen Pilot is known for its wide range of reliable writing instruments. With innovation at the forefront, Pilot has been a frontrunner in introducing erasable pens, fine-point writing tools, and pens with unique ink properties, satisfying a spectrum of writing preferences and styles.
  • Staedtler: This German company has a rich history of providing quality writing, artist, and engineering drafting instruments. Staedtler has earned a solid reputation for their durable and precision-centric design, fostering deep trust among its user base, from students to professionals.
  • BIC ITALY: Universally recognized, BIC ITALY is famous for its affordable and disposable ballpoint pens. The iconic BIC Cristal pen is among the most well-known and has become a staple in offices, schools, and homes across the globe due to its reliability and cost-effectiveness.
  • F.I.L.A.: An Italian company with a knack for creativity and design, F.I.L.A. offers a variety of arts and crafts items, including a line of pens and writing instruments. The company caters to a segment keen on exploring the artistic side of writing and drawing.
  • Montblanc: Synonymous with luxury and extravagance, Montblanc is recognized for its sophisticated and finely crafted fountain pens, which have become status symbols in their own right. These pens are not merely tools for writing but are also coveted as collectible art pieces and a display of one's appreciation for the finer things in life.
  • Parker Pen Company: With a storied history and a heritage of innovation, the Parker Pen Company is known for quality craftsmanship and its contributions to the development of the modern fountain pen.
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Summary and extracts

1 Market Overview

1.1 Definition and scope of the study

The pen market represents the main segment of the writing market and includes the sale of by-products such as ballpoint pens, fountain pens, and markers.

Since their invention in 1985, pens have been used worldwide, with stable and steady demand. However, the increasing integration of technology has caused the inherent characteristics of pens to be revisited. For example, we refer in part of this study to smartpens, which are connected to an electronic device such as a tablet.

It is important to refer to the luxury pen segment, whose sales grew by 2.1 percent in 2018, mainly due to price increases. These products, in fact, are increasingly seen as true luxury products and less as simple writing instruments.

In Italy, the pen market is very fragmented when measured by the number of pen retailers, with many different brands, sizes, shapes and features. However, there are giants in the industry, such as Bic, Staedtler, and Pilot, which contribute to a highly concentrated market in terms of sales.

In terms of distribution, sales occur mainly in supermarkets or hypermarkets, or in stationery stores. E-commerce accounts for only a small part of the distribution market share.

Although the pen industry remains relatively slow to innovate, new trends are becoming increasingly important and include, for example, products made from recycled plastic.

1.2 Global market analysis

The global market for writing instruments was valued at $** billion in ****, and is projected to reach a value of $** billion by ****, growing at a CAGR of *.* percent. The chart below shows the evolution of the size of the market under analysis, and its forecast to ****.

Pens Market - Global Size World, ...

1.3 The Italian market

In Italy, the market for pens is characterized not only by the production and distribution of standard items-namely, ballpoint pens that dispose of themselves once they run out of ink-but also by the creation of luxury pens. These are tools that, at first, may seem a bit unfashionable, especially considering the ...

1.4 Analysis of import and export

Introducing the analysis of imports and exports, the graph below shows the volume that international pen trade took in the period from **** to ****. Specifically, from the graph below, it is possible to assess a reversal that imports and exports have experienced: from a trade deficit situation that ran from **** to ****, a ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Overview of demand

Considering the broader category of stationery in general, the Italian market recorded a value of more than *** million in ****. In terms of the weight of the segments, writing ranks first with a market share close to ** percent and a total value of more than *** million. This is followed by office products ...

2.2 Demand drivers

Education level

As shown in Part *.*, nearly **% of pen users are students. Therefore, it can be inferred that education is one of the main drivers for the market under consideration. In particular, it is also relevant to consider the different levels of degree attained by the population, since, in general, traditional ...

2.3 New trends in demand

For so long, personalized pens have been a viable alternative for gifts or for companies as a personalized gadget to offer their customers or sponsors. However, in recent years, there has been an increased focus among users on the material chosen to produce the pens. In this period, the focus has ...

2.4 Geographical distribution of demand

Considering the demand drivers analyzed in section *.*, it is possible to assess the level of education in different Italian regions to get a clear understanding of the distribution of demand for pens.

Specifically, in the graph above, the level of education for each macro-region is calculated in terms of % of the ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Market structure and dynamics

Given the high specificity of the market, it is necessary to consider the main components of which pens are made to assess the number and type of legal entities operating in the sector in the Italian landscape. Considering the most widely used types of pens, they consist mainly of a plastic ...

3.2 Value chain


Specifically, from the graph above, it can be seen that pen distribution is mainly associated with two types of channels: on the one hand, store-based retailers, ranging from large grocery stores to mixed retailers that provide a variety of products. On the other hand, store-less retailing mainly involves e-commerce platforms that ...

3.3 Distribution channels

Considering the broader category of stationery products, the chart below shows the proportion of products sold in the main distribution channels.

Stationery Products - Distribution Channels Italy, ****, in %. Source: ****

However, considering the value chain for pen production reported in the previous section, it is to be expected that part of the ...

4 Supply analysis

4.1 Type of the offer

The pen market offers a wide variety of products, which differ in many factors, including the size of the pen tip, the type of ink used, the color, and so on. The following categories of pens can be listed:

Ballpoint pens; Roller pens; Gel pens; Markers and highlighters; Touchscreen pens with ...

4.2 Prices

To assess the price of pens in the Italian market, we need to consider the consumer price index of stationery products, which are represented by ECOICOP ****. Considering the graph below, we can see an increasing trend in the consumer price index for stationery products, calculated using **** as the base (***). As described ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Regulatory framework

6 Positioning of players

6.1 Segmentation

  • Staedtler
  • Henkel Italia
  • Pilot Pen France
  • F.I.L.A.
  • Montblanc (Richemont Groupe)
  • Parker Pen Company
  • Schwan-Stabilo

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Writing Instruments Market - Global Dimension
  • Pen Market - Applications
  • Penne Market - Imports
  • Pen Market - Exports
  • The market for pens - Analysis of imports and exports
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Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Henkel Italia
Pilot Pen France
Montblanc (Richemont Groupe)
Parker Pen Company

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