Covid 19 curtails stationery sales

Business Education

There has been a steep decline in the sales of stationary equipment in the country, due to the lockdown measures implemented by the government considering the rising number of COVID 19 cases.

PARAKH SINHA|October 22, 2020|4:20 PM IST

Faridabad: Stationery sales have seen a massive drop in the pandemic. The lockdown has forced retail shopkeepers and manufacturers to shut shop and look for other occupations.

Mr. Mayukh, a marketing executive at LINC Pens and Plastics Ltd said, “There has been a drop in sales of our products and we have shifted to selling them through online mediums. The market is adapting to the times to launch new products that take into consideration the needs of the consumers in these trying times”.

The lockdown had a direct impact on the industry that is heavily dependent on orders from various academic and corporate institutions that have now shifted to the virtual mediums. Leading manufacturers of stationery have also been impacted and had to change their marketing strategies to cope with the times.

India’s stationery market size is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10.5 percent during 2018-24 in India, whereas the online sale of stationery products is expected to expand at a CAGR of 15.6 percent over the forecast period of 2016-2024 as stated by the Indian online stationery market outlook report 2017-2030 by Goldstein market research. 

However, the unorganized sector is still a big player in the industry. Local manufacturers and importers provide these supplies at cheaper rates to their consumers but these contracts are majorly done physically and not using online means, hence they are the ones who have been majorly affected because of the pandemic. Naresh Shah, the head of Gujarat booksellers and Stationery Association said, “Selling of products online can only happen with small products but the heavy product sales can not occur online”. 

Nitin Garg from Garg copy manufacturers, a Jaipur based supplier of notebooks, stated, “There haven’t been any orders for their notebooks as schools and offices have shut down.” Even as the unlocking of these institutions has begun in a phased manner, it will take time for orders to start flooding in the offices of these local manufacturers, he said. 

The plight of retail stores that sell stationery goods is no different, said Naresh Shah. “We have suffered massive losses in Gujarat. About 1200 retail shops in Gujarat have incurred losses of Rs 800cr in Gujarat”.  

It is becoming increasingly difficult for them to even pay rent. Ms. Amita Bhatia who runs Hunny Stationaries in Faridabad said, “It is getting difficult to even pay our rent we don’t even have proper meals for days. All our contractors require credit upfront to supply us with products but because of no profits, we are not able to even buy these supplies. We were hoping that everything will be back to normal till the festive season but the situation still remains the same. Our buyers have begun purchasing these items on e-commerce websites”.

The pandemic has affected several small and medium businesses, but this industry has been growing tremendously over the years. It is the means of income for a sizable population who have been asking the government to offer them aid in any way possible. Naresh Shah, the head of GBSA said, “We have asked the government to assist us regarding the sales and shifting our products from the five percent GST slab to a higher 12 percent category but we still haven’t received any help from them.”