Paper Planners More Popular Despite Digital Advances

With the new year comes new appointment books, paper planners, and calendars. But in the digital age, these items still haven’t gone the way of the dinosaur. Studies show that paper planners, calendars and appointment books have not only survived the digital revolution, but they’ve also become more popular.

Sales of appointment books and paper planners rose 10 percent from 2015 to $342.7 million in 2016, and calendars increased by 8 percent to $65 million over the same time period, according to figures from the NPD Group, a consumer research firm.

Paper Planners are Customizable

Leen Nsouli, an office supplies industry analyst with the NPD Group, says the reason for this growth is because of how customizable paper planners and the like are.

“The consumer can customize a planner to fit his or her style with accessories, colors and even color coded events and activities,” Nsouli told the New York Times. “That’s not something you can do on the standard phone calendar.”

Erin Condren, creator of the popular LifePlanner calendars, sees things similarly.

“I’ve always loved the simple act of putting pen to paper, from handwritten thank-you notes to manually crossing off items on a to-do list,” she says. “There is something so much more personal about the act of writing it out. I’ve also seen a shift in using the LifePlanner as more than just a calendar. It’s become a creative outlet.”

And not everything can be digitzed, explains Tim Klima, plant manager at the Domtar customer JournalBooks.

“Nowadays, we are seeing more and more print requests with customized filler and specialized pages,” he says. “You can’t get that in an online app. Our calendars are also up 3.2 percent this year, which we did not expect. I think this just shows that people like to write down what is going on and what they have coming up. If you put it in your computer, chances are you will never go back to that page or note because it is not right there in your tangible presence.”

Paper Planners Are Convenient

For some people, it might be less about creativity and more about convenience. Sometimes it’s easier to jot something down in a paper planner or glance up at the wall to see a calendar appointment time than it is to open yet another app. In a world inundated with notifications, beeps, alerts and messages, simple paper sometimes remains supreme.

The process of actually writing something down also offers significant cognitive benefits, including increased self-confidence, improved school performance, increased reading skills, and sharpened critical thinking skills.

Whether it’s notebooks or story books, greetings cards or business cards, paper products have shown a tenacity that few people would have predicted as the digital age began to take over.

“The weight of a pen and the texture of paper affects us more than sliding our fingers around on an iPad,” said James Ward, author of the book Adventures in Stationery, in an iNews article on why people still love paper products. “Real, tangible objects have an appeal that goes beyond the purely functional. People like feeling stuff. We’re physical beings.”

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