Fountain Pens

Fountain penWith the popularity of tablets and smartphones, one would think that old-fashioned pen and paper would fall out of favor. But worldwide sales of pens and other writing instruments is expected to increase, from $16.2 billion in 2014 to $20.2 billion in 2019 according to the report Global Writing and Marking Instrument Market 2015-2019 by Technavio. Increased population and literacy levels are fueling demand in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In the United States and Europe, luxury pens are in demand as gift items and as fashion accessories. Some brands of luxury pens include Cross, Krone, Parker, Think, and Waterman.

Today’s market size presents the total retail sales of one segment of this market: fountain pens. Global sales of fountain pens increased 2.1% from 2015 to 2016.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2016
Market size: $1 billion
Sources: Thomas, June, “How Nakaya Pens Anticipated The Writing-Tool Renaissance,” Bloomberg Businessweek, August 30, 2017 available online here; Yerak, Becky, “How The Pen Industry Hangs On In A Digital World,” Chicago Tribune, January 29, 2016 available online here.
Original source: Euromonitor International
Image source: Jackmac34, “Pen-fountain-pen-ink-gold-writing-631321,” Pixabay, February 11, 2015 available online here.

Wireless Speakers Enabled by Personal Assistants

Amazon Echo and Google Home are two versions of wireless speakers that do more than play music. They are also voice-activated personal assistants. Some of their capabilities include adjusting a smart thermostat, turning lights on or off, arranging a ride through Uber, and delivering the news, sports, and weather. As prices have come down for these devices, in some cases retailing for less than $50, popularity has risen.

Today’s market size is the value of the market for voice-activated wireless speakers/personal assistants in 2015 and the projected value of the market in 2020 according to Gartner. The value of the market is expected to increase more than 5-fold in this 5-year period.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2015 and projection for 2020
Market size: $360 million and a projected $2.1 billion respectively
Source: Ed Baig, “Google Home Plays Catch-Up to Echo, with Promise,” USA Today for the Lansing State Journal, November 6, 2016, page 6B
Original source: Gartner.

Cast Iron Cookware

Photo of cast iron pot and pan

In the past 10 years, sales of cast iron cookware has gone from 4 percent to 10 percent of the entire cookware market. Lodge Manufacturing, founded in 1896 in the United States, and Le Creuset, founded in 1925 in France are two of the oldest manufacturers of cast iron cookware. Data show industry sales of cast iron cookware in 2011.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2011
Market size: $114 million
Source: Josh Ozersky, “A Pan for All Seasons,” Time, March 26, 2012, available online here.
Posted on May 14, 2013

Garage Storage and Organization

Products purchased to help organize the garage constitute the fastest growing segment of the home storage and organization market. In recent years, the garage has become more than just a place to park cars. Only 35% of garages made to fit at least two cars have room for more than one. While many homeowners use their garage for storage, there’s a growing segment of the population that use their garage as an extension of their home — installing granite floors, wide-screen televisions, and state of the art sound systems.

Data show the projected size of the garage storage and organization market in the United States in 2015. That year, the total home storage and organization market is expected to reach $9 billion, which means that the garage segment will represent nearly a fifth of the total market. Managing all of our stuff has become a real job and for some, a business.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2015
Market size: $2 billion
Source: Jayne O’Donnell, “Garages Can Be a Man – Or Woman – Cave,” Detroit Free Press, April 21, 2013, available online here.
Original source: Freedonia Group
Posted on April 25, 2013

Home Wireless Routers

Many people who own tablet computers, laptops, and e-readers own wireless routers. Wireless routers allow them to connect to the Internet through these devices from anywhere in their homes. Data show sales of home wireless routers in 2005 and 2011.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2005 and 2011
Market Size: $700 million and $1.3 billion respectively
Source: Tamara Chuang, “When the Home’s Most Important Internet Device Fails,” The Street, September 17, 2012, available online here.
Original Source: Dell’Oro Group
Posted on September 26, 2012

Sodium Sulfate

Sodium sulfate is an inorganic chemical that looks like a white powder. Its chemical symbol is NA2 SO4. Sodium sulfate is used in the production of many products. Soaps and detergents account for the largest single share (35%) of its consumption. Other end uses of sodium sulfate include glass manufacturing which accounts for 18% of consumption, the paper and pulp industry uses 15%, and textile production accounts for 4% of consumption in the United States. The remaining 28% of consumption is divided among many smaller consuming end users.

The market size presented below is the estimated total value of all natural and synthetic sodium sulfate sold in 2010.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2010
Market size: $42 Million
Source: “Sodium Sulfate Statistics Information,” part of an annual series titled Mineral Commodities Summaries, published by the U.S. Geographical Survey and available online here.
Original source: U.S. Department of the Interior, USGS

Houseware Sales

Housewares is a category of products covering a large range of different sorts of items. Here is a list: floor care products; metal cookware; kitchen tools & gadgets; plastic storage; air treatment products; blenders & food processors; cutlery; metal bakeware, and toasters. Today’s market size is an estimate of the total retail sales value of all items in this category during 2010. It shows a 2% increase over retail sales in 2009.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2010
Market size: $52.2 billion
Source: “It’s Alive! Home Furnishings Sales—Put on Life Support Last Year—Show Signs of Life,” HFN Home Furnishings News, February 2011, page 16.
Original source: McFadden Communications Group LLC


This market size, presented for 2007 and 2010, clearly shows the impact that the recession which began in December of 2007 has had on the worldwide sale of household appliances. The market sizes listed here include retail sales of refrigerators, other than compact refrigerators; freezers; dishwashers; ovens; ranges; range hoods; cooktops; washers and dryers.

Geographic reference: World
Year: 2007 and 2010
Market size: $14.2 and $13.1 billion respectively
Source: Hagerty, James R. and Sven Grundberg, “Whirlpool and Electrolux Post Weak Results, Face Price Pressures,” The Wall Street Journal, February 3, 2011, page B6.
Original source: NPD Group

Residential Smoke Detectors

The number of working smoke detectors in residential housing units in the United States is listed below. This figure translates into a single smoke detector in 87% of all residential housing units in the country, which is an encouraging number. However, a more promising figure would be well over 100% since that would mean that many homes made use of more than a single smoke detector, as is recommended by the U.S. Fire Administration, part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on its website here.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2009
Market size: 116,141,000 detectors
Source: “Housing Units—Characteristics by Tenure and Region: 2009,”
Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011, Table 983, U.S. Census Bureau, page 616.
Original source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.

Outdoor Furniture and Grill Market

This market, as defined by the source, can be broken down into the following four categories: outdoor furniture (with 57% of the market), grills (20%), accessories (19%) and patio heating products (4%). The market is forecast by the source to reach $7.2 billion in 2013.

Geographic reference: United States
Year: 2008
Market size: $6.12 billion
Source: Outdoor Furniture and Grills, December 2009
Original source: Freedonia Group