We have noticed a fair few people reaching out about the popularity of fountain pens these days with more and more people specifically asking questions like who uses fountain pens these days. Due to so many people asking as well as the sheer number of people who seem to think that fountain pens are antiquated and no longer in use, we have decided to publish this dedicated article on the topic.
Although the number of people in Europe and North America who use fountain pens was in freefall for decades, there was a spike around three years back where a number of fountain pen brands reported a bump in sales. Since then, sales seems to have normalised and levelled off rather than stay on their downward trend. We know that some brand such as Waterman and Cross still report a decline in sales each year but this is largely due to Japanese brands such as Pilot and Sailor rapidly expanding in the west with their excellent range of pens taking marketshare away from Cross and Waterman.
We have settled on the main groups of people who still use a fountain pen as well as our main theory as to why there was that initial spike in fountain pen sales a few years back and why their sales have levelled off. Each of these groups of people that we will cover in our article use fountain pens for very different reasons but most of the groups do tend to be growing, some faster than others with more people using fountain pens now than over the last three decades.
Are Fountain Pens Still Used?
Although the majority of communication that we do with each other in this day and age is electronic and done via computers, tablets, and smartphones, fountain pens are still in use. Although they are not as popular as they used to be due to ballpoint pens, rollerball pens, and gel pens being much cheaper, fountain pens do have their niches that are slowly growing.
Who Uses Fountain Pens These Days?
We will now be going over the seven main niches that fountain pens tend to dominate and although most of these niches are seeing steady month-on-month growth, some are seeing rapid growth and continue to go from strength to strength. We hope that this will help our readers understand who still uses fountain pens and why we feel that their sales will continue.
People With Poor Handwriting
The first niche and one of the ones that is growing the fastest at the time of writing this article is the use of fountain pens amongst people with poor handwriting. Although we have gone over why fountain pens tend to be favored for anyone with poor handwriting in our article going over the best pen for poor handwriting, they have a number of things going for them that make them ideal for anyone wanting to improve the quality of their handwriting.
As we touched on in the section above, the majority of our communication in this day and age is done electronically so there is a huge number of young people with handwriting that is very difficult to understand as they simply don’t develop their handwriting skills. This has lead a number of schools to switch their pupils over to a cheap, reliable fountain pen such as the Lamy Safari in an attempt to help their students handwriting improve.
Early results do seem to show that this is helping and this is exposing young people to using a fountain pen rather than the standard disposable ballpoint pen that has dominated schools for the last three decades. As these young people grow up, there is a chance that a portion of them will grow into people in the following niches and help to grow fountain pen sales further.
Fountain Pen Converts
The fountain pen convert is similar to the niche above but it tends to be someone who decided to take a chance on a fountain pen and fell in love with the writing experience that they offer as well as the benefits to their handwriting. Although this is one of the niches that is growing slower than the others, it is still seeing slow growth as more and more people decided to try other types of pen rather than standard ballpoints, rollerballs, and gel pens.
The fountain pen convert tends to be older than the previous niche covered above and has a little more money too. Although they may start out with a cheap fountain pen such as the Lamy Safari, many of them quickly end up upgrading to something like the Lamy 2000. The fountain pen convert tends to be stick with using fountain pens as their primary writing utensil too once having made the initial switch and will usually build up a small collection of different pens.
People Who Write For Enjoyment
Although the number of people who write for enjoyment and use a fountain pen did drop off as they made the switch over to laptops or tablets, more and more of them are switching back to writing on pen and paper with a fountain pen. We have even seen some people say that they have gone back to using their typewriter when they write for enjoyment.
In recent years, the number of people who actually write for enjoyment have started to make up a decent chunk of the growth of people who still use fountain pens too. So much of our lifes are based around computers, smartphones, and tablets these days that it is easy to see why people switch back to a fountain pen and paper when writing for pleasure to get a break from their gadgets.
The penthusiast is the one die hard user of fountain pens who have kept buying them through thick and thin as fountain pens and often to a lesser extend, other types of pen are their hobby. They find them interesting and enjoy writing with them, cleaning them, trying different nibs on their pens, and experimenting with different ink options.
The penthusiast community is usually the people that you see on social media groups and online forums related to fountain pens as they are one of their main hobbies. Penthusiasts tend to have a wealth of knowledge available and are often the people offering advice and model recommendations to people online who are seeking help with fountain pens.
Fountain Pen Collectors
The fountain pen collector tends to be the next level up from a penthusiast with fountain pens being their hobby but they also tend to collect fountain pens too. Although there are a number of fountain pen collectors who use fountain pens today with collections valued at thousands and tens of thousands of dollars, there are some who have collections valued in the hundreds of thousands of collars.
Although many people from the niches covered above do end up being a fountain pen collector, the value of their collections can vairy wildly with some collectors specifically only collecting fountain pens from certain brands or from a certain era. As time goes on and the value of vintage fountain pens increases, we can see more and more people starting their own fountain pen collections though and expect this niche to grow more in the future.
Social Media Influancers
Although this may seem like a strange niche to be using fountain pens, the “social media guru” niche is huge with much of the content that they upload to social media being based around what they perceive to be a millionaire lifestyle. Due to this, there are countless photographs of people with Montblanc fountain pens being uploaded to Instagram and other social media sites each and every day.
Although the main purpose of the photograph is to lead their followers in believing that the influencer has a certain lifestyle, many of these accounts have hundreds of thousands of accounts, if not millions. We would imagine that this has started to help with the sales of entry-level fountain pens and intermediate-level fountain pens as many of their followers try to emulate the influencer’s lifestyle.
High Net Worth Individuals
This is another niche that some of our readers may not be expecting on our list and there are actually two sub-niches of high net worth individuals each helping to surge sales of pens. The first is the type of person who has reached a level in life where only the best will do for them and they are willing to pay a premium for the prestige of branding on everything that they own.
This is why the social media influencers tend to use the Montblanc fountain pen range as they are often trying to convince their followers that they lead the same lifestyle as actual high net worth individuals who have the money to afford such expensive items in their life. As we touched on in the section above for social media influencers, this can help grow the sales of fountain pens as people try to mimic successful people.
The second type of high net worth individual is someone like Bill Gates who actually tends to use a cheap pen, the Uni-ball Deluxe. After the recent documentary on Bill Gates that streams around the world on Netflix, we saw a surge of people asking what pen he uses that we actually published a dedicated article on what pen Bill Gates uses.
We know that the Uni-ball Deluxe is not a fountain pen but it surged sales for that pen model and similar things with other documentaries have also surged sales in specific fountain pens over the years too. Although this does tend to be a temporary surge, it does expose more people to fountain pens and they may end up falling into one of the niches covered above.
This brings our article going over who uses fountain pens these days to a close. As we explained above, there are seven distinct niches of people who still use fountain pens with some of them seeing rapid growth as well as having some solid growth potential in the future too. Although sales of many fountain pen brands have declined in recent decades, they do seem to have generally levels out recently with some brands such as Montblanc and Pelikan reporting solid growth for some of their models.