The Writing's on the ... Facebook Wall?
In other words, pens continue to sell because people still need pens—and that's the first thing you should tell your clients. "Every employee at a restaurant carries a pen, police officers writing you those wonderful tickets, students in class, outdoorsmen taking notes, artists and designers, etc.," explained Matt Fisher, ad specialties director for Fisher Space Pen Co., Boulder City, Nev. "There is always a need for a pen and there always will be."
Not sold? Is your client still mashing the touchscreen on his Galaxy Nexus 7, probably tweeting something like "@penhater454 Pens are so 19th century lol #welcometo2013gramps"? That's okay. Pen suppliers have an answer for even the staunchest of technophiles.
See, the pen industry did not sit idly by while the tablet-and-smartphone bandwagon was filling up. It did the sensible thing: It called shotgun. All manner of tech-friendly pens are now available, with stylus-tipped offerings effectively bridging the gap between the old-school and the new. "Pens with styluses, especially the soft-tip styluses that are compatible with capacitive touchscreens like on the iPad and iPhone, are becoming popular thanks to the great success of smartphone and tablet products in recent years," noted Xiao.
And "great success" might be an understatement. According to Computerworld, the International Data Corporation's "Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker" study projected 2013 tablet sales at 172.4 million units, with 2016 sales skyrocketing to 282.7 million. Even if only a fraction of pen-users embrace the pen-stylus hybrid, that's still a huge base of potential customers—and that's before you even account for smartphone users. Looking at projections like that, it's not crazy to think that the explosion in touchscreen devices—long thought to be the death knell for traditional writing instruments—could actually contribute to an increase in demand for pens.
"Smartphones and tablets are everywhere. In years to come, the flip phone with push keys will be obsolete, so a pen with a stylus tip is a must," Fisher said. "Why not kill two birds with one stone and have your smartphone tool and writing tool on you at all times, in one piece?"