Stock and visibility both are challenge in the stationary category: Saumitra Prasad

In an exclusive conversation with Saumitra Prasad, CMO, Kokuyo Camlin sheds light on the emerging business potential in stationary category.
“Stock and visibility both are challenge in the stationary category”: Saumitra Prasad

Kindly shed light on Kokuyo Camlin journey to Indian market? 

Kokuyo Camlin is the oldest brand of stationery products in India since 1931. Starting with fountain pen inks it has over the years developed the widest range of products in the country and also dominated many categories like Crayons, Water Colors, Geometry Box, Markers, Mechanical Pencils, Fine Art and many more. Camel Art Contest has been awarded as the world’s largest Art competition by Guinness book of world record wherein every year more than 50 lac children participate in the competition.  Camlin not only develops great products for it consumers but also makes learning fun for them.

How do you see Indian stationary market has evolved over the years? It would be great if you can highlight few numbers? 

The overall stationery market is estimated to be more than 25,000 crore with high percentage of organized segment. Notebook and pen are the large categories followed by pencils, markers and colors. The education segment consists of 60% and office is 30%. The category is expected to grow at 10.5% for the next years driven by government initiatives to achieve cent percent literacy.

Also shed light on your current distribution in online as well as offline channel. Going forward, what are the plans to scale up the distribution? Any plans to come up with exclusive brick and mortar outlet?

The traditional channel of distribution still dominates the stationery category. The online is still enviable but expected to grow fast. Exclusive outlets by players have not been successful

Have you ever introduced brand licensing in your product line or plan to? Also shed existing categories and best selling price points? Also what are the plans to expand the existing range? 

Camlin has used licensing popular characters which are synergy with the brand positioning. These characters include Pokémon, Harry Porter, Chota Bheem and few others.

Camlin has been launching many innovative products like Brush Pen, Washable Crayons, Adult Coloring book, Colour mechanical pencils and many others. We will continue our efforts to develop super and innovative products which make learning fun for children.

Who do you see as your biggest competition within the same space?

ITC has achieved the biggest size with a good share in the large notebook category, while Camlin dominates most other categories.

How is the consumer behavior has changed over the years in this category?

The children today have become more articulate in expressing their choice of their products. There is also more acceptance of premium products and value added products. While there is lot of digitalization in teaching but good schools still encourage the use of conventional stationery as its useful for the mortar skills an overall development of children.

What are the biggest retail challenges in your category?

The stationery shops in India are very small and stock and visibility are both challenge. With growing competition and increasing sku range it’s become difficult to place the products. Companies are investing in creating effective dispensers to give character and visibility to their products.

At last, kindly highlight your growth plans?      

 Kokuyo Camlin has been growing steadily over the years and is today market leader in many categories. The brand had good distribution in West and South and now improving the same in North. With the launch of many innovative products the company expects to continue its growth journey and remain the favorite brand of children.



Saumitra Prasad