Business Info - issue 138

For all talk of the paperless office, the notebook seems to hold a place in people's hearts (and on their desks).Whether you choose a design to reflect your personality and creativity or pick one that projects a more professional image, a notebook remains a vital workplace and lifestyle accessory – and one that consumers are willing to pay more for. Clement Rouillard, marketing manager at ExaClair, the UK supplier of Exacompta, Rhodia, Iderama, Décopatch and Clairefontaine notebooks, says that a growing preference for quality over quantity is benefiting established products like the Clairefontaine A5 Europa range. “People are buying less, but buying better, re-engaging with putting pen to paper,” he said. “Europa has grown by over 8% this year compared to 2017, while the market is at best flat year-on-year.” Notebook and diary maker Collins Debden is benefiting from the same trend and, according to digital marketing executive Richard Sloan, has been surprised by the strength of demand for its premium lines. “I think the continued growth in demand for our higher value products has been surprising. It is fantastic for a British company like ourselves that consumers are still willing to spend more to get better quality stationery products from a brand they trust, rather than spending less on cheaper imports. Notebooks are an investment that really says something about an individual, so people still care enough to spend more on them,” he said. Ruth Pike, UK commercial manager at Paperblanks, known for its high quality journals, attributes growing sales to the emergence of a larger and more diverse customer base. “We believe this is due to a growing trend whereby people are returning to pen and paper and moving away from having their heads buried in technology. At Paperblanks, we have been working hard on expanding our cover range to offer even more alternative covers, meaning we can now appeal to an increasingly eclectic crowd,” she said. Recent creative trends like hand lettering, calligraphy and bullet journaling have given an added boost to premium notebooks and journals through their use of ink pens, which require smooth, high quality paper to avoid bleed-through and ghosting. ExaClair has more than doubled sales of its bullet journaling-inspired Rhodia GoalBook range, featuring 90gsm ivory vellum paper, numbered pages, a contents table and calendars. The old and the new While love of notebooks might be seen as a conscious move away from technology, the two don't have to be exclusive, as Hamelin Brands marketing director Jayne Roskell affirms. “In retail, our top selling and fastest growing notebook this year has been our Oxford Campus A4 wirebound notebook due to the new Scribzee feature we have added,” she said. “It is specifically targeted at students, who are one of the biggest consumer groups using notebooks and paper. Our Oxford paper is the only 90gsm Optik Paper on the market and our new Scribzee scanning app technology, which links the paper with digital through printed tags on the pages, gives even more benefits to students.” Over the Back To School period Hamelin Brands achieved a 250% uplift in Scribzee app downloads, much to Roskell’s delight. “We had predicted engagement and growth but it exceeded our expectations,” she said. NOTEBOOKS 14 | P2P Magazine 01732 759725 Buying better Why notebook buyers are choosing quality over quantity “Koverbook is our fastest growing notebook range, having sold over 10 times more YTD than in the whole of 2017, and has been a key ‘back to school’ product for us, especially withinWH Smith and Costco. This innovative range of notebooks has premium features, such as two bookmark flaps with integrated pockets, a hardwearing PP cover and a choice of eight colours. As with all Clairefontaine notebooks, it features ultra-smooth 90gsm brushed vellum paper.” Clement Rouillard, marketing manager, ExaClair ExaClair Rhodia Goalbook “Poetry in Bloom is our fastest growing journal in the UK due to its fantastic colour and finish. The cover celebrates the many moods of a creative spirit and offers something for everyone.” Ruth Pike, UK commercial manager, Paperblanks “The best selling Collins notebook continues to be our Legacy A5 Notebook range. Customers love the unique soft touch feel of the covers, the wide range of colours available and the larger 240-page size. It is perfect for personal use and for corporate personalisation markets.” Richard Sloan, digital marketing executive, Collins Debden