A growing market for paper notebooks

Content Summary: In this article, we look at the increasing size of the paper notebook market, considering current and forecast trends. We discuss the driving factors behind these trends and look at how the pandemic and other global events increase the demand for notebooks. We also look at two sectors within the notebook industry that are overgrowing. These include recycled/sustainable notebooks and the wellness/mindfulness sectors, growing at a surprising rate globally.

People love writing, and people love their journals, notebooks, diaries, and planners even more. 

With the rise of Samsung’s Note range a few years ago and more recent products like Remarkable, it would seem sensible to believe that traditional notebook and paper would slowly lose their appeal.

Time has proven the opposite to be true. 

All market predictions are forecasting growth for the paper notebook market. And within this market, it looks like specific products, such as recycled notebooks and fitness workout planners, will prove to be popular.

According to a report from Technavio, the paper notebook market will grow by just over $81 million over the next three years to over $416 million, with South America being the best performing market and the APAC being the largest.



What is driving this growth and demand for paper notebooks in such a digitized world?

One of the obvious uses is by students and learners worldwide.

As education becomes more accessible and flexible, students are increasing, fuelling the demand for notebooks.

Despite numerous software and apps available for note-taking and group work, students – millennials in particular – still prefer to use paper notebooks for their studies.

Homeschooling has increased in some countries over the past year.

Parents had to home educate their children as schools closed during the peak of the pandemic. 

Some welcomed this change, and many parents have continued homeschooling, increasing the demand for notebooks and stationery. 

But paper notebooks are also being used for leisure.

As notebook designs and paper types improve, more artists are using them. Hobbyists use them as scrapbooks, and many consumers now use notebooks as personal goal-setting guides and planners.

Notebooks make splendid gifts, as there are so many wonderful and unique designs available now and are perfect for lower budgets.

The pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have also played a part in growing this industry.

During the lockdowns of 2020, we had no shortage of digital communication.

Although it was hard to stay indoors and away from our loved ones, in some ways, we were limitless.

There were no fixed office hours or commute.

We suddenly had a lot more time to think and reflect.

More quality time at home.

And with Netflix, amazon video, Youtube, Zoom, Skype, and so on, we had no shortage of digital entertainment or communication.

One would think that would be more than enough.

Yet, evidence shows, technology does not fulfill that need to be close to our loved ones. 

It cannot replace a personal touch.

We still crave that human connection.

And when we cannot be physically close, we use other methods to reach out and show we care.

According to a report by John Lewis and Waitrose:

During the lockdown, online greeting card sales increased. 

And, interestingly, general stationery sales rose by 800%.

Home office products increased by 550%, and artist materials rocketed by 3000%!

Lockdowns and social distancing meant that a lot of people missed out on time with their loved ones. They also had more time to spend at home because leisure facilities were closed.

Many spent that time being creative with stationery and journaling in paper notebooks. More people were writing, drawing, planning, goal setting, and creating personalized gifts. 

The pandemic reminded consumers just how important a personal touch is. 

And being surrounded by technology has given stationery and paper notebooks a special place in our homes and offices.

That is why, despite the progression of technology, stationery sales are soaring.

Pen and paper have been around for centuries. 

And during the last decade or so, technology has done its best to imitate them both.

But, even with its best efforts, nothing matches the feel of writing with tangible stationery or the joy of receiving a handwritten letter.

Perhaps this is why so many people have opted for tangible notebooks, diaries, and organizers for their home offices.

Andrea Bell, director of insights at trend forecasting company WGSN, says, “Work-life balance is being expressed by paper. Work is digital, and we put personal affairs on paper. It helps create a boundary between the two while giving us a feeling of certainty in uncertain times.”


Human behavior is always an intriguing topic, and looking at the reasons behind the increased sales of stationery and notebooks is oddly reassuring. It is proof that, despite so much digitization, we still want to stay connected with each other in the physical and tangible space. 

Sustainability and the rise of recycled notebooks

As awareness of global warming, rapidly depleting resources, and our CO2 footprint increases, demand for recycled goods and ethically sourced materials also goes up.

According to GlobeNewswire, the paper recycling market, currently worth $45.5 billion, is expected to be worth $56.2 billion by 2025.


Consumers are consciously aware of sustainability, which is the main driving factor for this growth, along with a surge in middle-class families and urbanization in India, which has further increased demand for paper and notebooks.

Here at Johnshen, we also take sustainability very seriously.

We know consumers are consciously choosing recycled notebooks due to environmental issues.

Consumers want to buy from companies doing their bit to reduce plastic, waste, and carbon footprints. 

To meet this demand, we are introducing our sustainable, recycled notebook range made from eco-friendly materials.

These include cork, linen, recycled leather, and washable paper.

All of the pages are 100% recycled paper.

Although the recycled notebooks are sustainable, we did not compromise on design or quality.

We build notebooks that will last and feel great to touch and to write in. 

Being released for 2022 and 2023 is our current showcase. Exclusively designed by a unique collaboration with teams from the United States, Europe, and Australia.

Recycled Leather Notebooks and Planners:

This notebook feels soft and warm to the touch, designed to endure regular use. We highly recommend it for eco-conscious students and office workers.

The cover also has an elegant gold foil stamping to complement the materials used. 


Cork Cover Notebooks: 

The cork feels robust and hard-wearing to touch, and these notebooks are available in a range of designs as the cover also includes a silkscreen finish. We would recommend this as the perfect gift idea for hobbyists and artists.

Linen Cover Journals and Planners:

With their elegant, soft-touch covers, and designed pages, these journals and planners are perfect for anyone looking to jot down their thoughts and daily tasks.

They are available in a range of beautiful, urban colors and therefore appealing to a large consumer base.

Paperboard cover notebooks:

These are a more colorful range of recycled notebooks, available in several designs with silkscreen printing.

Hard Cover notebooks:

With bold designs and vibrant colors, this range is ideal for the fashion-conscious consumer.

Finished with beautiful gold hot foil stamping, this would make a delightful gift.

And finally our range of notebooks made with mixed material.

The cover is a distinctive type of paper that feels sumptuous to touch, and an elegant fabric finishes the spine. 


The contrast of the paper and the fabric gives this a unique and creative feel, ideal for many uses, including journaling, hobbyist use, and planning.

How Lockdowns, mental health, and mindfulness are accelerating the wellness market growth

As a race, we are focusing on saving planet earth and being more kind to each other.

As individuals, we are becoming more conscious of mental health, particularly since Covid-19, which has led to increased self-care, wellness, and mindfulness.

Also, the redundancies and business closures caused by the pandemic have led to more people being conscious about their life plans and goals.

According to policyadvice.net, the wellness industry is currently worth a staggering $4.2 trillion. It has grown at twice the speed of the global economy!

Personal care and physical activity make up a large percentage of this industry. To meet this demand and help consumers reach their well-being goals, we have created a uniquely designed range of notebooks to cater to this market.

Wellness range of notebooks:

The trending concept for this range of notebooks has three sections:

Improving health

Things you enjoy

Improving knowledge

The notebook cover designs and inside page layouts help the consumer to focus on these areas.

Happiness Journal and Wellness Journal:

With elegantly designed hardcovers, these journals help consumers focus on positivity, things they have learned, and what can be improved.

Self-Care Journal:

We wanted to create a product that would help individuals take time out and focus on self-care.

With a textured cover that makes it feel more homely and a rainbow design to remind users to stay hopeful, this is the perfect companion for anyone looking to improve their wellbeing.

Life Journals – Hobbies and fitness range:

These are a creative set of notebooks to help consumers with their hobbies and stay on track with their fitness goals.

From plant journals and puppy diaries to fitness and digital detoxing, this range will appeal to a large number and variety of consumers. 

Restore your body
Inner page design of the life journals

The perfect gift for keen gardeners or beginners! A beautifully designed planner for keeping plants in good health and a great way to keep note of what to plant and when for the entire year. 

Keyword Search Trends for Paper Notebooks

Data from Google shows that the search term “paper notebooks” is widespread across different countries, with 100,000 searches per month.

Search terms that include the words recycled, eco-friendly or sustainable, are also frequent, with up to 10,000 searches per month and sometimes more in the peak buying season.

Interestingly the phrase “eco-friendly notepad” has increased by 900% over the last three months. And the expression “recycled composition notebook” is 900% more popular than it was at this time last year.

The search for “fitness planner” and “workout planner” is high in the wellness sector, with up to 100,000 searches per month.

Other popular search terms include: 

Workout weekly plan

gym workout planner

home workout planner

work out planner for weight loss

So, although this is a small set of data from a few countries, it seems that the market forecast data does match current user search patterns.

Looking forward to 2022 and beyond

We have been supplying some of the largest retailers, from all over the globe, for over 23 years.

Each year brings new challenges, helping us focus on new designs and new ways to create quality products that meet the needs of our end users.

The 2020 pandemic changed things worldwide. 

In many countries, office working will never be the same again.

Businesses and entrepreneurs had to adapt to survive. Sadly many had to shut down.

Families and loved ones were apart, and the importance of mental health reached a new level.

However, these changes create new opportunities, and some markets and industries will flourish over the next few years.

Here at Johnshen Stationery, we are humbled to play a global role in helping consumers solve their daily challenges with our stationery.

New collection of 2023 paper notebooks from Johnshen Stationery


Our paper notebooks form a large part of our product range, and we take pride in creating and delivering quality, 

We design notebooks to create a unique experience for our end users because a notebook is much more than a pen and paper.

The perfect notebook is similar to a loyal companion.

Always by one’s side, a place to share all-important thoughts and ideas.

We look forward to a brand new 2022 and hope that our new recycled and wellness notebook ranges will bring joy and pleasure to everyone who uses them.

Please get in touch if you would like some samples or more information on our upcoming product lines.


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