The promotional power of a simple pen

Published on 25 January 2021
The promotional power of a simple pen

Nowadays everyone walks around with a smartphone and tablet. After all, the world is completely digitalized, so why should we still work with a pen? Yet there are people who in many situations feel the need to write something down. This can range from a small note, diary, beer mat to the back of a paper table pad. Despite the medium you use to record your notes you will always need a writing instrument. In most cases this will be a standard pen.


Lasszlo Biro, a Hungarian journalist was annoyed during his work by the many shortcomings of the leaking and scratching fountain pen. In 1938 Lasszlo took care of the patent on the pen as we know it today. A small ball at the end of the pen ensured that the pen could not leak or dry out. This new shape was first used by the British during the Second World War. It was the British government that bought the licence rights to the Biro pen because there was a great demand for a pen that was leak free in use. During that war Frenchman Marcel Bich saw the pen made by Biro. In 1950 he worked on his own version of the pen. In 1950 the Bic came on the market under a license from Biro.


Research shows that during the lifetime of a pen, it is used 1.000 to 2.000 times. Whether this is 1.000 or 2.000 times depends of course on the quality of the pen. Does the pen have a bad quality? Then it ends up in the dustbin after only a few times. But if the pen is of good quality, then this gives a great ROI. The pen lasts longer, but also gives a better and more qualitative image of your brand. Although the pen is not a very sexy promotional product, it is important for your brand visibility.

85% of pens cost less than €1 each. This means that when you use a pen 1.000 times, it costs only 1 eurocent each time. This is also the reason why companies use the promotional pen most often as a promo product.

Also, a 2018 study by the American Advertising Specialty Institute shows that 89% of Americans own a promotional writing instrument.

Market size

According to Technavio, a global research agency, the market for pens continues to grow, also in the coming years. In 2022 the total turnover would be around 24 billion dollars. This growth is mainly due to the demand for multifunctional pens such as styluses, lamps, laser points, etc. As far as the market for writing instruments is concerned, pens account for the largest share. In 2017, the market share was 54%. Technavio expects this share to grow even further in the coming years. This has to do with the growing demand and interest for more luxury pens.


The risk of a pen is much lower than any other promotional product. A cap that you don't like or a T-shirt that doesn't fit you often ends up somewhere in your closet. However, a pen is actually used. It is often lent out, given away and it is sometimes said 'keep it'. A pen is used 9 times out of 10 effectively or at least kept. There is always a moment when you are looking for a pen and it can come in handy.

Decoration and personalization

In the past, the decoration techniques of a pen consisted mainly of engraving or tampon printing. Today there are already more possibilities and techniques such as full-colour digital printing and all-round personalization. A new way to personalize is by using the clip. It is another rewarding part of the pen and therefore ideal for personalization. The clip of the pen is made of a different material and can therefore be executed in the form of a logo. Besides decoration and personalization there are also a number of new trends in material. Currently, the most commonly used materials are 'soft touch' and 'rubberized'.


Ecology and sustainability are making their advance in our society. This also has an effect on the supply of promotional pens. More and more sustainable specimens are coming onto the market. Think of pens made of recycled material, wooden pens, pens made of pressed paper or bamboo.

Interesested in promotional ballpoint pens?

View our online range of ballpoint pens or contact us for advice!


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