The rise of digital devices has led to writing by hand almost entirely disappearing from consumers’ everyday lives in both the private and commercial spheres. As a consequence, luxury writing instruments and stationery products are not so much competing with standard alternatives through an emphasis on their symbolic and decorative qualities as relying on those qualities as their primary raison d'être.
With the embattled category having seen unit prices fall towards the end of the review period, this growing emphasis on status is expected to lead to an increase in prices during the forecast period. Nonetheless, the increasingly niche character of products designed for writing by hand is set to lead to a deceleration of growth in luxury writing instruments and stationery in Taiwan in both current and constant value terms over the forecast period.
Businessmen constitute a key consumer group for luxury writing instruments and stationery. The status associated with such products is a key attraction for businessmen, who will tend to be called upon to write in front of other people more than private consumers.
Cie Financiére Richemont retained a strong lead in luxury writing instruments and stationery in 2017 thanks to the Montblanc brand. As well as having a high-status image, the brand benefits from the fact that its fountain pens and ball pens remain popular amongst businessmen because they are considered to be lucky charms when signing business contracts.
Tiffany & Co was the fastest-growing major player in luxury writing instruments and stationery in both 2016 and 2017. The relatively strong performance of a player predominantly renowned for its operations in luxury jewellery underlines the growing emphasis on the decorative and symbolic role of luxury writing instruments and stationery products as their traditional writing function is usurped by digital devices.
The centrality of devices such as smartphones and tablets to consumers’ daily lives presents opportunities for manufacturers of luxury writing instruments and stationery to leverage their established brand images and introduce products such as stylus pens designed for use with digital devices.
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