The Indian Pen industry is worth Rs. 16-17 billion and is growing at a compounded growth rate of over 13-14 per cent for the last six years. The size of the organized (branded) pen market has also been growing steadily and is expected to constitute about 70 per cent by 2005. This has been possible mainly on account of better product quality and increased awareness through advertising.
Today’s Writing Products Ltd is one of the country’s largest pen makers. It has firmed up plans to set up a modern Export Oriented Unit (EOU) with a capacity of 400 million gel pens per annum. The plant is expected to emerge close to the company’s existing unit in Dadra, in the Union territory of Daman and Diu. In addition, the company has tied up with Poundland, Europe’s leading price retailer, with over 100 stores and over a million walk-in customers.
Said Rajesh Drolia, Managing Director, Today’s Pen, “Currently, we produce over 1.5 million pens per day. The ball pen market can be divided into two segments, premium and economy. The premium segment accounts for about seven per cent with the balance being contributed by the economy segment. We are focused on mass volumes, in the economy segment where we have a market share of about 10 per cent. We believe that it is the economy segment which is growing faster than the premium segment.”
Drolia shared that the company was planning a major drive into the international markets, for which the tie-up with Poundland was entered into. The global writing instrument market is valued at about $ 10 billion. “Traditionally, the Chinese had dominated this market with over 10 per cent of the global market. The Indian share has been miniscule with exports totalling Rs 200 crore. But given the higher quality perception that ‘Made in India’ pens have over Chinese pens, major international retailers today are turning to India-made pens,” he said.
Global markets aside, the company is turning tides in the domestic market, especially in terms of promotional tie-ups with companies such as Hindustan Levers, Colgate Palmolive, Warner Lambert and others who have partnered with Today’s pens for marketing promotion schemes, both for trade and consumers. An instance is the Fair and Lovely Rs 5-sachets being distributed along with a trade scheme that offered Today’s branded pens. In 2003-2004, the company provided HLL with over 2.5 million pens.
Today’s Pens currently has over 40 different products in the market, at different price points ranging from Rs 2 to Rs 20. It is also very proactive in terms of packaging solutions, which has added to sales in a big way.