Although luxury writing instruments and stationery saw slow retail volume declines for the last few years of the review period, the category saw a much stronger fall in sales in 2020, along with a slower decline in current value terms, although this was still double-digit. The emergence of COVID-19 in the country led the government to impose a lockdown in the country, which included the closure of all non-essential retailers, which had a negative impact on sales of such products for several months.
Writing instruments are seen as status symbols amongst locals. However, with more people working from home and reduced social interaction, the need to own an expensive pen greatly reduced.
Montblanc maintained its strong lead in luxury writing instruments and stationery in South Africa in 2019, and this is expected to continue in 2020. The brand is a favourite amongst luxury shoppers and is very popular as a corporate gift item.
Continued declines are expected for luxury writing instruments and stationery in both retail volume and current value terms in 2021, although at slower rates than seen in 2020. COVID-19 remained very much in evidence in the country at the beginning of 2021, and therefore restrictions remained in place, which will continue to hamper sales.
As in luxury timepieces, growth has been seen in pre-owned luxury writing instruments, and these products are expected to gain more traction in the forecast period as more consumers look for affordable luxury. Whilst the appeal of owning luxury products has not declined, consumers are likely to be more wary about spending on non-essential items when they have the option of getting the same product for much less.
E-commerce is set to continue to grow in the forecast period, albeit from a low base. Jewellery and watch specialist retailers and luxury pen brands are increasingly moving towards having an online presence, and these small products are easy to have shipped.
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This report originates from Passport, our Luxury Writing Instruments and Stationery research and analysis database.
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