Dated goods category

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Insights and Trends - Dated Goods Category

The most recent financial data publicly available for the paper planner and appointment book market indicates that the 2015-16 market size was $342.7 million, a 10% increase over 2014-15. Additionally, an article published in December 2017 that is behind a paywall, indicated that the sales of paper planners were up $50 million in the last two years. This shows that at least through late 2017, paper planners were a growing market. Below we provide some additional trends in the market.


To provide insights and trends in the dated goods category, we searched for market and industry reports. Most of the available information was from 2016 and 2017. Since more recent data was not available, we have included that information in the brief. We also utilized social media and hashtag reports to determine the popularity of paper planners and this provided some qualitative data on the industry. The trends mostly revolve around why people are using paper planners and their advantages over digital.

Bullet Journals

Bullet journaling is a method of tracking "everyday tasks, routines, wish lists, thoughts and more." The method was developed about 20 years ago by Ryder Carroll. One way to see the popularity of bullet journals is to see how they are being discussed on social media. A search for "bullet journal" on Pinterest brought up pages of examples on the popular platform. A search for #bulletjournal on Webstagram indicates that there have been over 3.7 million posts with that hashtag. When you also include all the variations of the hashtag, there are at least hundreds of thousands more. Although bullet journaling uses blank journals, or journals specifically designed for the practice with grids on the pages, many people use these as a planner by creating a calendar format that works for them.

Day Planners in the U.S.

A 2017 report by Market Research Future indicated that the business day planner market would grow at an annual rate of 2.2% through 2022. However, the market for academic and personal day planners was declining at a rate 0.94% per year. The results of this study indicate that in the specific area of day planners, business people seem to be the only segment that is increasing their use.

Interest in Paper Planners

Although there was little quantitative data on who is using paper planners, there are many examples of people touting their use of paper planners and why they use them. There are also statistics related to social media which provide some perspective on their popularity. For example, the hashtag #planneraddict, which is associated with paper planners, has been used in 4.4 million Instagram posts. When you include all the variations of the hashtag, there are hundreds of thousands more. Although this does not tell us how many people are using paper planners, it does speak to their overall popularity.

Some reasons given for choosing paper planners over digital, or to use in conjunction with digital, were:
  • A preference for the feel of paper as compared to using an app.
  • Having everything in one place as compared to using different apps for calendars, to do lists, shopping lists, and taking notes.
  • Using a combination of a paper and digital planner allowed for putting the details in the digital calendar and using paper for "actual planning."
  • Paper planners are customizable, fun and colorful.
  • The act of writing something down can help you remember it.
  • There are no distractions when you are using it, such as beeps and notifications on a phone.
  • Paper planners can provided a creative outlet.

Growth in the Dated Goods Category

Although we had to expand outside our preferred two-year window to find financial data on the dated goods industry, a video produced by NPD in May 2017 discussed the results of a study of the market from 2016. This indicated that not only was the market growing, but that consumers were spending more on planners and looking for products that reflected who they are and allowed them to explore their creativity.

The 2015-16 market size for the paper planner and appointment book industry was $342.7 million, a 10% increase over 2014-15. Additionally, an article published by the Wall Street Journal, that is mostly behind a paywall, indicated that the sales of paper planners were up $50 million in the last 2 years. These two sources combined show an increase in the market size at least through late 2017, which was the most recent data available.

  • "A digital-media maven on why she can’t quit the charms of old-fashioned datebooks, sales of which are up $50 million in the last two years"
  • "As per MRFR analysis, US Day planners market can improve its sales growth if the day planner’s manufactures take initiative in creative advertising and branding in-addition, certain professional till date use day planners namely, in hospitals and by sales employees in order to keep a track record. The market for Day planners in US is declining due to US government has set-up a rigid rules and regulations on paper manufactures as pulp and paper mills are worst pollutants of air, water, and land of any industry in the country. Increase in usage of technologies such as smart phones and tablets has taken over day planners charts and books."
  • "Aside from the nostalgia factor, writing by hand forces you to slow down and approach your planning with more mindfulness. Research even suggests that writing things down by hand helps you retain information better, which is a useful perk if you really don’t want to forget that important work deadline."
  • "By looking a whole week ahead, I could now plan time for activities that fit squarely in that “Important/Not Urgent” category of the Time Matrix without them getting boxed out by “Urgent” tasks. And then I could schedule my calls and meetings–especially the urgent but not important ones–around those. Basically, I’d plan the important stuff first, then leave the empty boxes for whatever’s left."
  • "Because I’m not the creative type of person who wants to decorate each page herself, I crave the colorful layout and pre-written inspirational quotes that greet me whenever I need to jot something down. It might seem cheesy, but it’s a huge plus."
  • "Using paper also allows me to visualize my days, weeks and months as I plan them, which gives me a sense of control over my schedule. It keeps me from feeling overwhelmed because I can reference everything in one place."
  • "Back when I released my first edition of the LifePlanner️ in 2007 (the same year the first iPhone came out!), I was told I was crazy, that the future was digital. Over a decade later with more than a million Erin Condren LifePlanners sold worldwide, I’m pleased to say that paper is still here—and thriving. Now, more than ever, there’s a true need for the “old school” paper market; we look at enough glass screens."