“Alone we can do too little; together we can do so much”

FEB-2012 – My sincere compliments to Federation of Maharashtra Stationery Manufacturers & Traders Association for organizing STATIONERY WORLD 2012, the 4th National Exhibition b y between 17-19 february 2012 at Mumbai. The Indian Stationery Industry has faced various transitions with the passage of time in terms of quality, trends and demand. After accepting the globalization and liberalization phenomenon the industry has not only witnessed sea change in its orientation but has rolled up its sleeves to face the domestic as well as international competition. In today’s era the stationery industry is categorized into three segments school stationery, office stationery and paper stationery. The stationery industry is rapidly growing with many players expanding their product line into these segments. The reason for the exponential growth of stationery industry is primarily the rise in the educational sector. The thrust on education by the government ensuing into high propensity to spend on education are the prime growth drivers for the stationery industry. Also increasing population with adding more schools, the demand for school stationery has galloped significantly. Several multi-nationals organizations have shifted their offices and units to India hence the demand for office stationery is on rise. Though many organizations have aimed for paper less office but their demand for stationery products is ever increasing. Today the buyer is brand conscious and sensitive about the kind of products he buys. With the increase in the number of middle class families and their per capita income and social awareness due to several electronic medium the importance of brand awareness has gained significantly. Exposure to the international brands and upgraded national brands of stationery has done a lot to enhance the buyer’s brand sensitivity. Buyers are willing to pay more for a brand which offers quality and durability. Consumers opting for new pens than refills and there is a shift in focus from inexpensive products to quality products. Even 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. Major importing countries for Indian stationery are Australia, Canada, major African countries and Middle East where Indian designs and style are more acceptable. Wal-Mart, Office Depot and Staples of the US, which have so far been procuring stationery items from China, have visited India for outsourcing their pen requirements. While at present China has a market share of 10 per cent of the Rs. 50,000-crore global writing instruments industry, India’s exporters are striving hard to improve our share in the market. We have proven India’s capability in manufacturing high quality products. We are challenged by the constant change in world trends and increased competition especially among neighboring countries such as China, Indonesia, Brazil and many other countries who are known to supply much better quality products at much lesser rates than India. Apparently, Germany, Japan and Korea are the international quality leaders of the stationery business. China is competitive because it has low cost of production due to the availability of paper at lower cost, manual labour, government subsidized land and power. Considering our domestic market with growing disposable incomes, consumers are upgrading their purchases and luxury items are gradually finding their way into the shopping baskets of even upwardly mobile middle class consumers. Other industry experts assert that the local market is growing fast and there is scope for further expansion of the industry. India still needs a lot of proper research and development that will be the winning key for the Indian stationery market’s stability in the overseas market. But India first has a major need for good infrastructure facilities, innovation, quality control, tax incentives, vocational guidance, capacity building and factories equipped with modern machinery. This is where the government should step in. If the basic foundation is strong the rest will be easy to achieve. Many export development programs comprising training in export marketing, trade fair participation, B2B activities should also be carried out by government for stationery suppliers in order to enhance the exports. It is estimated that the Stationery industry in India is approx Rs 200 billion and is poised to grow at a 15% annually. But the major portion is unfortunately in unorganized sector and small players are finding difficult to face the onslaught of multi nationals. In India the major obstacles for the stationery industry are government policies, fierce competition from countries like China, Brazil, and Indonesia. Higher tax rates compared to its foreign counterparts, ever increasing cost of production and lack of popular brand images are also bottlenecks for the Stationery Industry. Nevertheless, we are optimistic about the industry, since the government is spending a lot on education and international demand is also pouring in. The international demand of stationery products from Asia is bullish, and India is in the forefront. It is reported that 60 to 65 per cent of our population is below the age of 30 who are going to write and give exams on pa per with pen & pencils. Digital technology has taken off in a big way in Europe but India will take some time to reach that stage. The traditional usage of print and stationery will continue for the foreseeable future.” I would like to appeal all the Stationery Manufacturers and Traders through this medium to stride on the buoyant market and reap maximum benefits as they can without compromising on quality standards. Our collective efforts can also establish a strong identity and will strengthen our stance while convincing the policy makers in India. Lastly I once again request all of you to whole heartedly support our team to accomplish our individual goals as well as common objectives. Currently the Federation is organizing STATIONERY WORLD 2012 every couple of years, surely with the encouraging response to the exhibition FMSMTA will organize Stationery World more frequently to promote our Stationery industry. SHRIRAM DANDEKAR CHAIRMAN F.M.S.M.T.A

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 08:00