Stationery is forever – not just for Christmas!

Happy New Year everyone!

The run up to Christmas seems to have been generally positive for the UK high street, with John Lewis reporting its best ever Christmas sales, up 26.5% on the same week last year. I can’t help but wonder what impact stationery sales had on these encouraging figures because Christmas is a great time for stationery sales.  It features on so many wish lists, and makes a great gift for any age – man, woman, boy or girl.

There was more choice than ever this Christmas for stocking fillers with everything from musical rulers and handy (hand-shaped) sticky notes to funky gel pens and beyond. For the more sophisticated stationery addict, there is a huge, yet exclusive market out there of high-end product. An innovative addition to the field was the new Filofax Ikat clutch bag/organiser, which I imagine will have sold well. And although tablets were on everyone’s must-have list, it has not been at the expense of the more grass-roots approach to organising daily life. Personal organisers of the paper kind are as popular as ever. There are blogs devoted to its most famous exponent, and the Philofaxy blog has almost as many followers on Twitter as the official Filofax account.

I loved the experience of stationery shopping and people watching in a wide range of stores in the run up to Christmas – everywhere from stationery shrines like the Liberty stationery department and Selfridges through to chains like Paperchase and Rymans, and to independents packed with quirky, designer-led stationery. Above all, I enjoyed listening to consumers talking about the various stationery offerings. Their enthusiasm and pleasure was palpable, and that’s the point.

For designers, suppliers and retailers of stationery, there is such a rich vein of product interest and enthusiasm out there to tap in to….. if I could only have a pound for everyone who tells me they love stationery!

The Christmas sales figures may not pinpoint stationery’s contribution to the British economy, but this is a market on the up which is evolving from being a Need to Want category. The London Stationery Show’s mantra of Fashion Meets Function is truer now than ever before.

Imagine the knock on effect if we could all persuade just a few more people to put pen to paper and write to someone new in 2013. It’s surely not too big an ask.

Let’s get Britain writing!

Posted on 7th January 2013 by Chris Leonard-Morgan