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1.1 Market definition and presentation

The pen market represents the main segment of the writing market and covers sales of sub-products such as ballpoint pens, fountain pens, writing markers, and rollerblades.

The history of the pen goes back to 1865. Ever since then, and up until today, it is a common good which is sold and used globally, with a constant stable demand. Nevertheless, as we are approaching an ever increasing integration of technology, it is plausible to assume that the intrinsic features of the pen will be re-invetnted. For instance, we designate one part of this study to talk about smartpens, which are connected to an electronic device such as a tablet. 

The pen market is highly fragmented when measured by number of pen retailers, with many different brands, sizes, shapes, and characteristics. Sales mostly occur in super-or hyper-markets, or at stationary shops. E-commerce represents only a small fraction of the distribution market share. Nevertheless, there exists giants in this industry, such as Bic, Staedtler, and Pilot, which contribute to a highly concentrated market when measured through sales. 

Although the pen industry remains relatively slow with regards to innovation, new trends are becoming increasingly important, and include for example organic products.

1.2 A positive outlook for the global market

Source: ****
The global pen market was worth $** billion in ****, and is expected to grow to $** billion by ****. This is equivalent to a CAGR of *%. This growth comes as the demand for writing instruments remains very stable, and innovations in the sector occur. For instance, to meet demand from millennials and younger ...

1.3 Strong growth in the domestic market

Source: ****

Source: ****
The market size above has been calculated using the following formula:
Thus, in ****, we estimate the French market to be valued at €**,** million.

1.4 Production breakdown

Above we considered three Prodcom codes; ******** (***). Below follows a breakdown of the value of each product in ****.

Source: ****
We can see that Ball-point pens make up the largest chunk of the production measured through value (***). It is hence plausible to assume that ball-point pens are in largest demand in relation to ...

1.5 International trade

In this section, we use data from Comtrade to determine France’s trade of pens. In particular, we sum two codes to obtain the trade of all types of pens. These codes include: **** (***).

Source: ****
As we can see form the graph above, France’s exports are larger than its’ imports. Consequently, ...


2.1 Consumer breakdown

Consumers in the pen market can be divided into three broad segments:
Pupils, students and teachers The companies Households
Market demand is therefore influenced by the evolution of the business population and the student population.
For instance, the back-to-school period is crucial for the pen market's players. Les Echos indicate that ...

2.2 School enrolments are increasing

Source: ****
Pen sales in France benefit from a large customer base of students and schoolchildren. Since they still take the majority of their notes on paper, they are stable customers for pen manufacturers. However, the number of students and pupils in France is growing slowly over the long term ; between **** to ...

2.3 The most purchased back-to-school items

Source: ****
The graph above provides evidence that French consumers spent on average €**.** on non paper supplies in ****. Pens are included in this category, although it is not the prevailing product item. From this, we can see that for back-to-school items, **.*% (***) pertain to pens and other items.

2.4 Demand Trends

Organic writing products on the rise

Source: ****
In a study made in **** by Harris-Interactive French consumer were asked whether eco-responsible products matter when they purchase school supplies for their kids; two thirds (***) viewed the matter as important or very important, whereas **% answered that it doesn’t matter at all. Although this ...


3.1 Market Overview

Source: ****

3.2 Distribution


Source: ****
Indeed, in line with the previous illustration, the graph above depicts how Hypermarkets sold most writing instruments in France in **** (***) come in second and third place with similar market share measured by retail value. Finally, Supermarkets accounted for approximately **%, and variety stores **.*%.

Company Market Share

Source: ****
BIC are market ...

3.3 Production

La Croix explains that the production of Bic pens is done in the following fashion:
Ball-points: They are made from tungsten carbide powder compressed into pellets. They are levelled to the nearest tenth of a micron to ensure that they are perfectly spherical. Tips: These are made from machined brass wires, ...


4.1 Product innovation drives the market

In the pen market, design and innovation are essential market drivers, enabling companies to offer increasingly sophisticated and ergonomic products. For instance, Pilot has launched an erasable ballpoint pen after ** years of research and development: in ****, thermosensitive ink was democratized with the Frixion range, which made it possible to write, erase ...

4.2 Pricing

Price Index

Source: ****
For the graph above we don’t use the NAF code **.**Z; instead, we use INSEE's code labelled **.*.*.*.* (***), which is very similar to the definition and scope of **.**. From the graph, we can see that the price of pens has increase by *,**% since ****. This implies that demand has ...

4.3 Supply Trends

Answering to consumer demand – the rise of sustainable pens
In general, the innovation and product updates in pens remains low. Nevertheless, French pen producers are being responsiveness to societal trends, and working towards more integration of sustainability in products. For instance, STABILO has launched its GREEN range in recycled products, and ...



Below follows the standards which pens are subject to in accordance with French legislation:
NF *** touches upon pens and guarantees a long writing length, a limitation of the quantities of material, and refillability (***) ISO *****-*:**** establishes the minimum quality requirements for ballpoint pens (***) and their refills for general use. ISO *****-* ...


6.1 Segmentation

  • Pilot France
  • Schneider
  • Staedtler France
  • Stabilo
  • BIC

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