Adult colouring book craze prompts global pencil shortage

The world’s biggest pencil manufacturer has been forced to run extra shifts in its factory to keep up with demand

A surge in the number of people buying adult colouring books has threatened pencil stocks world-wide as manufacturers struggle to cope with an increased demand for quality crayons.  

The world’s biggest wooden pencil manufacturer, Faber-Castell, say they are experiencing "double-digit growth" in the sale of artists’ pencils and have been forced to run more shifts in their German factory to keep up.

“The production of our artists’ pencils has increased strongly compared to the previous year,” Sandra Suppa from Faber-Castell told the Independent.

“Currently, we are running more shifts than usual in our factory in Stein, Bavaria in order to satisfy the global needs for artists pencils related to the colouring trend for adults.

Pencil manufacturers Staedtler and Stabilo are also struggling to keep up with demand Faber-Castell

“The trend is continuing to this day and can be felt globally – from South America to Asia.”

Brazil has reported pencil shortages after many Brazilians jumped onto the colouring book bandwagon, The New York Post reports.

While, the famous European pencil manufacturers Staedtler and Stabilo are also struggling to keep up with demand, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Ms Suppa said the colouring book craze’s ripple effect on the pencil industry could be felt in an increased want for higher quality pencils and a better variety of colours.

“People are now not satisfied with ‘just’ 36 colours and we are noticing a trend in people preferring bigger sets of 72 or even 120 colours for colouring.

“We are also noticing that people are investing in our highest quality artists’ pencils.”

The colouring trend can be 'felt globally' Faber-Castell

Colouring books have become a surprising feature of many bookshops’ bestsellers lists in recent years, with Waterstones previously noticing a 300 per cent rise in sales in just one year, the Telegraph reports.

Melissa Cox, head of children’s buying at Waterstones, told the paper: “Colouring books are doing really well at the moment, which initially surprised us… and we realised adults were buying them for themselves.”

She added there had been a prominent increase in demand for challenging and intricate designs to fill in.

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Bestselling titles include Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom, Emma Farrarons' The Mindfulness Colouring Book and Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden.

Ms Basford, whose colouring books for grown-ups have sold some 16 million copies worldwide, including three million in China alone, told the Sunday Telegraph: "People like colouring-in because they are fed up with digital.

“There is something nice about picking up a pencil and a pen. You are not going to get interrupted by Twitter, and there is also a childhood nostalgia element to it.”

Faber-Castell attributes the sudden rise in adult colouring-in to the hobby's “relaxing and meditative nature”.

“It allows you to catch a break from the fast-moving digital world and to give your eyes a rest from flickering computer screens," said Ms Suppa.

“Colouring doesn’t require artistic training to get started, yet it offers a great sense of accomplishment when finishing a piece.”