UK stationery consumption to hit £1.15 billion this year – report



UK consumption of stationery products is expected to reach £1.15 billion ($2.34 billion) this year, up 8 percent in nominal terms from 2003. Researchers from Market & Business Development (MBD) tracked the UK stationery distribution market between 2003 and 2007. They found that consumption fluctuated over the period, peaking at £1.19 billion in 2005. They believe that "intense price competition" in the sector in recent years has hindered "more positive development".


The UK distributor’s market for stationery products, which includes the traditional retail market, the commercial sector and SoHo, is estimated to reach £2.94 billion by the end of the year. The market has grown since 2003, driven by the development of the SoHo sector and the trends towards premium products in the personal stationery market, says MBD. The researchers also say that stronger value development has been restricted by intense price competition in the market.


By 2012, the stationery distribution market is expected to be worth £3.04 billion, a 3 percent increase on estimates for this year. MBD expects the market to continue to be characterised by strong price competition "as a result of the changes in the distribution channels used, such as supermarkets diversifying in the stationery sector". The report also suggests that the increased use of eCommerce in the market will continue to exert a downward pressure on the value development of the market, as will imports from low cost countries, such as China.


Between 2008 and 2012, MBD expects to see continued growth in the use of retail superstores and direct ordering, electronic ordering in particular, which will enable cost savings to be passed on to consumers, reducing the value growth of the market. And the research company says that the commercial sector will likely continue to be pressured by the increased use of out-of-town superstores by the commercial market – especially by small companies. And within the period, increasing consolidation in the structure of the industry is thought likely to result in distributors having greater purchasing power. Such savings will likely be passed on to consumers as companies attempt to increase market share.


The paper stationery market is forecasted to account for 67 percent of the total stationery distribution market between 2008 and 2012, increasing at a moderate level of 2 percent in real terms. The main trends in the market are expected to be the growing use of recycled products and the lightweighting of paper stationery. Price competition is expected to remain "intense" as retail superstores and direct sales continue to broaden market share.


And demand for writing equipment is expected to increase cumatively by 5 percent in real terms between 2007 and 2012. Imports from low cost countries are expected to restrain market development, while the top end of the market will develop more quickly because of the trend towards luxury products and designer brands available on the market. But the top end of the market is likely to maintain only a small share of total writing equipment sales during the forecast period.