It is always a pleasure to own a set of quality stationery. Fashionable and modern writing equipments are a matter of pride to the owner. Durability and endurance coupled with good quality is what the organised players in the stationery industry are offering today, thereby signalling a revolution of sorts, much to the delight of the customer. The need for good stationery has increased and the organised players are cashing in on the customers’ quality demands.
Stationery, usually associated with schools, colleges and offices is an industry that has undergone a tremendous change in recent times. It is, although, largely dominated by unorganised players, but a significant shift towards the organised format has been seen over the years. The market is getting highly competitive with the surfacing of organised players like Office 1 Superstore, Cartoleria, Reynolds, Luxor and Office Linc showcasing brands like Kores, Faber-Castell, Maped for the Indian customers. Wanting value for money and not satisfied with local brands, the Indian customer has become price-sensitive and the focus has shifted from the inexpensive to quality products.
Corporate activity has expanded in India by leaps and bounds. This has resulted in many international companies setting their foot prints in India, with new offices and units coming up. Every office in turn requires a large supply of office stationery; business organisers, desk calendars, letter openers, pen holders, staplers etc. Sagar Tejura of Ayrton Agencies pvt. Ltd. Mumbai are exclusive importers and distributors for Maped, France, since 2003, says that they are distributors for Maped all over India and that the sales, since 2003, have grown very satisfactorily.
An important reason for the stationery industry to have an exponential growth is the rise of the educational sector. The government’s emphasis on education and with the building of more schools, the demand for stationery at schools has risen resulting in stationery retailers raking in good profits. Many schools provide stationery to students from their in-house stationery shops. Attractively coloured pencils, erasers, rulers, writing boards, pens, paper clips etc from Camlin, Apsara, Natraj, Faber-Castell are among the favourite brands with school students.
The buyer today has become brand conscious and sensitive about the kind of products he buys. Exposure to the international brands and upgraded national brands of stationery has done a lot to enhance the buyer’s brand sensitivity. Retailers should keep in mind that a buyer is willing to pay more for a brand which offers quality and durability. A mother buying stationery for her child will always keep in mind that the child should have a desire to use the product and that it should be sturdy enough to weather out the rough use of a child’s hand.
Of the many challenges faced by the stationery industry, its disorganised nature poses the largest hurdle. Awareness of good brands both for the customer and the local retailer will help create a better market for the local player and the customer can avail his favourite brands locally.
Competition from international manufacturers is also another challenge for the stationery industry. Chinese manufacturers pose a tough competition to domestic and other international players as they have an advantage of mass production capacity, aggressive favorable government export policy and simplified low taxation and well developed infrastructure.
Despite these hurdles, the stationery industry looks well set for profits. Stationery is always in demand and with schools and offices coming up rapidly, stationery retailers can happily write out a successful future.