The closure or restrictions on the operations of retail channels, including the dominant stationers/office supply stores, department stores and even modern grocery retailers, limited access to writing instruments during the initial Movement Control Order (MCO) phase between March and May 2020, although there was a slight shift towards e-commerce as retailers and players attempted to maintain supply demand to help offset steep in-store revenue losses. Nevertheless, demand was also hindered by the closure of schools and offices, with demand for writing instruments such as pens, pencils and colouring limited by a switch to home-based learning.
Players are continuing to invest in innovative launches as a way to attract consumers back to the category considering the fluctuating demand over the past year with various restrictions and lockdowns in place. With younger consumers the main target audience of colouring, a category which is predicted to record the most impressive retail volume and current value growth in 2021, leading brands such as Faber-Castell are increasingly segmenting the category with age-specific innovative products such as Early Age Crayons for toddlers in ergonomic shapes for easier handling and less chance of breakage, its Textliner 46 highlighter pen with a metallic finish, while its fashionable brand of K-One ball point and gel pens are likely to attract secondary school students.
The competitive landscape of writing instruments is fairly fragmented with a high number of players, although overall AW Faber-Castell (M) Sdn Bhd and Schwan-Stabilo Marketing continued to closely compete for share with marginal difference between them in 2020. Both companies are present in numerous categories, including colouring, pens, pencils, markers and highlighters and writing accessories.
Despite an overall positive outlook for the category, 2021 is likely to see fluctuating demand for writing instruments depending on the relaxation of restrictions, impacting both schools and a greater return to the workplace. This could lead to further attractive price discounts to stimulate demand among Malaysians, although overall, the average unit price is predicted to remain fairly stable, while value sales (at constant 2021 prices) will continue to grow in line with solid but low volume growth rates over the forecast period.
While stationers/office supply stores is likely to remain the dominant distribution channel for writing instruments in Malaysia over the forecast period, smaller channels including hypermarkets which is expanding its range, and e-commerce, offer potential as alternative sources of sales for brands by attracting increasingly busy consumers. Third party e-commerce marketplaces such as Shopee and Lazada allow leading brands to run official stores, such as Stabilo Flagship Store on Shopee Mall which not only offer occasional sales promotions at certain times of the year such as the Raya Bersama Shopee Ramadan/Raya Sale with discounts of up to 60% given to selected Stabilo ranges, but also enjoy greater trust amongst consumers through their feedback scores in terms of authenticity and customer service.
In order to drive greater value within writing instruments and appeal to a more sophisticated and older audience, established lifestyle stationery brands such as Typo, Smiggles and Paperchase are increasingly launching standalone boutique stores. Consumers who actively seek stationery and writing instruments are searching for products that incorporate a certain lifestyle element which also represents their own creative style or outlook, while these brands view Asia as offering further potential for growth and expansion.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Writing Instruments industry in Malaysia with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
Key trends are clearly and succinctly summarised alongside the most current research data available. Understand and assess competitive threats and plan corporate strategy with our qualitative analysis, insight and confident growth projections.
If you're in the Writing Instruments industry in Malaysia, our research will help you to make informed, intelligent decisions; to recognise and profit from opportunity, or to offer resilience amidst market uncertainty.
This report originates from Passport, our Writing Instruments research and analysis database.
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