EconomyHow the paper diary resists smartphones

How the paper diary resists smartphones


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At work as in personal life, you have to constantly organize yourself. Plan. To anticipate. To remember. And for that, your best ally is the agenda. If there is of course the digital version, the paper one has kept its regulars and is trying to seduce new ones. You have probably already started to fill in yours for 2022. The paper diary has therefore gone through the years and hopes to remain up to date. 20 Minutes tell you how.

Ready-to-wear or made-to-measure

On the sales side, the paper model is resisting. The market “is globally declining in volume”, notes Florence Breton Remia, commercial director at Exacompta, whose group, Exacompta Clairefontaine, holds around 70% of the paper diary market in France. In question, in particular, appointment-making platforms like Doctolib which, she judges, “destroys the work of medical secretaries” by allowing you to note your appointment directly on your smartphone.

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“I distinguish between ‘ready-to-wear’ – what is sold at Fnac, at Cultura, in stationery – and ‘tailor-made’, diaries made by companies to communicate”, continues Florence Breton Remia. According to her, the Covid-19 crisis has prompted companies to save money, especially on the manufacture of these diaries. “This year, the employees who were not given an agenda came to buy it in the “prêt-à-porter”,” continues the director.

“A vintage notebook”

In terms of buyer profiles, age and gender play a central role. Because if young men have almost “abandoned” it, “those over 40, and mostly women, remain very attached to paper, according to Florence Breton Remia. Often they have a smartphone for work and a paper diary for their personal life.” The attachment can be such that “many customers buy the same one year after another”, abounds Fabien Durand, stationery sector manager at the Cultura store in La Défense, in Paris.

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A relationship of affection with a simple notebook that Florence Breton Remia explains as follows: “People put their lives in their diary. Smartphones are very convenient for notifications. But to remind us of what we did, in which restaurant we ate, which movie we went to see, the paper is important to position these elements somewhere. It is no longer a simple diary, but a “vintage notebook” »

“We spend a year with him, he has to look like us”

How, then, to renew? This is the challenge for manufacturers, who have adapted to new uses. “5 – 6 years ago, we started to review some of our grids. We do not necessarily note an appointment with the dentist in a paper diary, because the smartphone tells us so, continues the head of Exacompta. On the other hand, you will make your to-do list for the weekend, for example”. Concretely, in the blank pages, the boxes get bigger, the timetables disappear, and sometimes even the time gets longer. “Customers are increasingly moving towards 16-18 month diaries,” notes Fabien Durand.

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And then there is the matter of looks. “We spend a year with him, he has to look like us,” says Florence Breton Remia. So it’s time for originality: “The sequined blankets, pink or flowery python style, work really well”. Or the “off the beaten track” agendas, according to a Cultura spokesperson. Among them, the “family organizer”, “for baby monitoring at the nanny”, the “astroguidance” or “Feng Shui” diary. History to anticipate the year with serenity.


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