German researchers Professor Dr. Michael Steiner at the University Witten / Herdecke and Christine Arden from the University of Muenster conducted a study in late 2014 to gain insights into fountain pen collectors’ next intended purchases and their reaction when facing an out-of-stock situation. Inky Passion received a PDF copy of the report through email yesterday.
The study enlisted the help of manufacturer Pelikan and was publicised on a variety of online sites. It found that a majority of fountain pen collectors are middle aged, highly educated males who possess at least 7 high priced writing instruments.
A total of 1823 respondents were surveyed from eight countries which included the USA, Germany, Canada, UK, Australia, Singapore, Austria and the Netherlands. The participants were recruited through the Pelikan Newsletter, FPGeeks.com and a variety of online sites and forums.
Among other things, the survey found that the average age of fountain pen collectors was 42 years old, and that 80% of them were male. A majority of respondents were highly educated, with at least 88% having graduated from high school and 59% holding at least a university degree.
On average, the respondents owned a total of 22 writing instruments. However, the mean value was affected by outliers who owned up to 500 writing instruments. A median 50% of respondents possessed at least 7 high priced writing instruments.
Brands cited as respondents’ next intended purchase included (in order) – Pelikan, Mont Blanc, Pilot, Visconti, Nakaya, Sailor, Lamy, Namiki, Omas, Parker, Graf von Faber Castell, Waterman, TWSBI, Caran d’Ache followed by other brands. The findings were however noted to be unrepresentative because a substantial amount of respondents were recruited via a Pelikan newsletter.
The survey also found that the internet is today a major distribution channel for fountain pens, but that retailers still play a crucial part. It noted that many consumers rely on online forums and corporate websites for information about fountain pens.
The study analysed consumers’ reactions when a product was out-of-stock. One significant finding was that having regular products which are out-of-stock “increases negative emotions towards the brand and ultimately decreases in its re-purchase probability”. It added, “negative emotions have a significantly stronger negative effect on re-purchase probability” of Special Edition products.
It concluded that a situation where a product was “out-of-stock also influences brand perceptions as it increases respondents’ interest in a brand. Out-of-stocks thus have a negative as well as a positive effect. However, overall, the negative impact prevails.”
Do you fit the profile? Share your thoughts!