From slime and foam to coloring and crafts, the latest trends around creative expression are driving U.S. sales of office supplies ahead of Easter, according to The NPD Group. The double-digit sales growth seen across coloring and art related categories suggests that a different wave of items may be joining the chocolate bunnies and stuffed animals in Easter baskets this year.
Dollar sales for washi tape grew by 41 percent in the 52 weeks ending February 25, 2017, and actual unit sales more than doubled. Consumers are buying tape with patterns, logos, and designs, with those sales up 31 percent. These tapes are being used conjointly with gift wrapping, journaling, planner personalization, poster-making, and more.
Colored pencil sets and coloring pages experienced the highest dollar sales growth in the industry during this time. Sales grew by $49.2 million (+27 percent)—outpacing total industry gains—and $39.7 million (+26 percent), respectively. The coloring trend has also positively impacted pen and marker sales; traditional pens and color and permanent markers grew a combined $45.4 million. Spring-related colors including green, purple, and violet were among the traditional pen colors experiencing the highest percent growth.
Painting and paint supply category sales are also reaping the benefits of creative expression, driven by acrylic paint, which comprises one-third of category sales; paintbrush pens, which grew its sales by 47 percent; and painting accessories, the second largest category.
Beyond the canvas, consumers are utilizing planners and notebooks as an outlet for personalization or creative expression. Coinciding with the addition of coloring pages and other personalized features, appointment book/planner sales grew by 9 percent and select notebooks by 8 percent—a combined increase of $39.8 million in one year.