Writing Instruments in Asia Pacific

April 2022

Writing instruments immediately returned to recording positive growth in Asia Pacific in 2021, following the decline seen a year earlier, when Coronavirus (COVID-19) arrived in the region. Nevertheless, traditional writing instruments will continue to experience competition from the wide range of digital devices that modern consumers are using in their everyday lives, particularly among the younger generations.

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Key findings

Return to positive growth for writing instruments in 2021

The closures of schools, offices and non-essential retail outlets at the height of the pandemic had a negative impact on sales of writing instruments in Asia Pacific in 2020. However, the region quickly returned to recording positive growth in 2021, with China, the region’s biggest market, helping to drive this recovery. Colouring weathered the COVID-19 storm better than some categories, seen as a useful activity to keep children occupied during extended periods of home seclusion, but also increasingly being adopted as a pastime among adults in some countries.

Digital devices remain a threat to category sales

The rise of digital technology continues to undermine demand for writing instruments, with some offices even rolling out paperless initiatives. Digital technology is also increasingly penetrating into schools and universities, with students having access to all kinds of electronic devices. The younger generation in general is becoming increasingly digitally-savvy, with writing instruments being replaced by phones and laptops as learning devices and communication tools.

Pandemic drives growth in the e-commerce share

Although store-based retailing continues to dominate sales of writing instruments in Asia Pacific, home seclusion, the closure of physical retail outlets and a fear of contracting COVID-19 when out in public helped e-commerce record strong growth in 2020, with further gains made in 2021. The biggest shares for online sales are seen in China, South Korea and Singapore.

Positive growth expected over 2021-2026

Writing instruments will see positive annual growth rates over the 2021-2026 period, although they will be gradually slowing year on year. Pre-pandemic sales levels are not currently expected to be reached until 2024, and the spiking COVID-19 case numbers in early 2022 could even push this date back a little further.


Key findings

Regional Overview

Asia Pacific remains the biggest regional market
Positive growth rates expected throughout the forecast period
Most countries record strong sales rebounds in 2021
Colouring benefits from lockdowns and growing attraction among adults
Chinese gains help to minimise regional losses in 2016-2021
Immediate return to positive growth in 2021
Stationers/Office supply stores the leading sales channel
E-commerce gains share during the pandemic

Leading Companies and Brands

Players launching antibacterial pens during the pandemic
Shanghai M&G Stationery continues cementing its lead
China and Japan the main markets for the top 10 players
No changes at the top, with M&G leading ahead of Pilot and Uni

Forecast Projections

Positive growth rates expected over 2021-2026…
…but digitalisation poses an ever increasing threat to writing instruments

Country Snapshots

China: Market Context
China: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Hong Kong, China: Market Context
Hong Kong, China: Competitive and Retail Landscape
India: Market Context
India: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Indonesia: Market Context
Indonesia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Japan: Market Context
Japan: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Malaysia: Market Context
Malaysia: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Philippines: Market Context
Philippines: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Singapore: Market Context
Singapore: Competitive and Retail Landscape
South Korea: Market Context
South Korea: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Taiwan: Market Context
Taiwan: Competitive and Retail Landscape
Thailand: Market Context
Thailand: Competitive and Retail Landscape

Personal Accessories

Personal Accessories refers to a diversified group of personal products including Bags & Luggage, Jewellery, Watches and Writing instruments.



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