Chinese Stationery Exports Soar, with a 36% Share of Global Trade

Other Paper Products December 02, 2015
Author: Irina Andreeva
Market Analyst

Although the category of stationery is commonly associated with such ubiquitous items as pens, the scope of products related to it is in fact exceptionally wide.

The world is increasingly becoming digitalized, so one might question the necessity of notebooks and writing tools. There are, after all, thousands of apps at our disposal, ranging from quick notes to drawing programs. However, the result of advanced technology has begotten an expansion into an array of products, including new profitable product categories, such as computer stationery.

Customer buying patterns are greatly shaped by seasonality, with holidays and back-to-school being the peaks of buying activity. It is worth noting that schoolchildren tend to be fashion conscious, and lean more towards expensive brand products. Licensed branded stationery, for example, sells particularly well in the school and home office product category at the retail level.

Themes like cartoon characters or well-known sports personalities are being utilized successfully to help market even the most basic products. With this in mind, stationery manufacturers are continuing to innovate, and as a result, the market is now brimming with unique and amazingly sophisticated licensed items.

Eco-friendly products are also rapidly gaining ground in developed countries. Besides, stationery and office supplies have likewise entered the gift market. For instance, diaries and luxury pens made in Europe and the U.S. have become coveted gift items in Asia.

Regarded as an almost mandatory purchase when it comes to a child's education, school stationery always manages to attract considerable demand. Growing literacy rates and a rising number of start-ups and office expansions are projected to keep the global stationery market afloat in the medium term.

China leads the way in the global stationery trade. In 2014, China exported 31.5% of its total stationery output. Of this amount, 21.0% was supplied to the U.S., where Chinese articles of stationery held a 5.3% share of total U.S. consumption.

In 2014, the U.S. (22%), the UK (8%), Germany (8%), France (5%) and Japan (4%) were the leading destinations of stationery imports, together making up 48% of global imports in physical terms. While the share of Germany increased, the share of the U.S. illustrated negative dynamics. The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

In 2014, China was the main global supplier of stationery items with a 36% share of global exports and with a CAGR of 8.2%. The remaining suppliers illustrated negative dynamics.

Despite being the largest global producers of stationery items, the U.S. and India did not export much of what they produced, choosing instead to supply domestic demand.

Source: World: Articles Of Stationery - Market Report. Analysis and Forecast to 2020