The Amazon Pen Category is Drawing a Fine Line
John Rode
on Mar 27 2019

The writing and correction supplies category is not getting high marks for supply chain execution. All brands are at risk of either falling into the Laggards quadrant or remaining stuck there. This is an unusual dynamic. Further, the category is clearly dominated by a single brand with an extraordinarily high marketing performance, on the order of 27% share of voice!




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The BrandIQ Quadrant benchmarks brand performance by the critical disciplines of supply chain operations and marketing. Who is best able to both drive and fulfill demand on Amazon? The metric that underpins marketing is Share of Voice (how often your brand appears in organic and paid search results), and for operations it's revenue leakage (how well are you able to avoid losing sales because shoppers are unable to buy your product because it's unavailable, lost buy box to 3Ps, etc.). Given Amazon's ever-increasing complexity and speed, mastering both is not simple.    


High IQ Brands                     


Papermate (Newell) has achieved a level of marketing dominance we rarely see in an Amazon L3 category. With 27% share of voice, Papermate outperforms even Kellogg's 23% in the cereal category. Papermate delivers with equally high organic and paid share of voice of 27% and 25%, respectively. For its part, Pilot has a more typical 11% share of voice. And while Pilot and Papermate share similar supply chain execution stats of 14% and 13% revenue loss, Pilot suffers more from availability issues and Papermate from loss of revenue to 3Ps. We'll want to track these two brands over time to see if they're elevating to the right, or getting dragged down towards the Laggards quadrant.


Niche Performers

Bic is it! While Bic is the sole resident of the Niche Performers quadrant, their position is tentative enough that we'll hold off on celebrating. Bic is experiencing an eye-watering 20% revenue loss due to availability issues. It's competing with 3Ps just fine - losing only 7% of revenue to them. It's share of voice is a moderate 10%, with an even split between organic and paid.


The writing and correction supplies category is not all that pretty at the moment, and the Laggards quadrant is no exception. Here we see the usual issues with revenue leakage and marketing underperformance. For all four brands in this quadrant, share of voice is in the low single digits, and revenue leakage ranges from 19% to 60%. Clearly, with share of voice so low, we're dealing with pretty low sales figures so there may be quite a bit of variance in revenue leakage over time. But, the story is pretty clear for these brands. 


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Our data was drawn from an automated, daily analysis of top keywords in the Amazon writing and corrections supply category over a one-year period. Our method focused on 1P brands and their associated SKUs. Marketing performance was determined by analyzing Share of Voice which essentially divides how many times a brand appears in search results, by the total available slots in the search results. Our system looked at both organic and paid ads for the top keywords discovered for the writing and corrections supply category on Amazon. Our system focused on page 1 search results and the product page for each SKU. Each appearance of the brand in organic search and paid ad slots was given equal weighting. Revenue Leakage was determined by an algorithm that analyzes inventory availability of the SKUs on the product page and translates that into estimated revenue missed for each brand due to things like a SKU being Currently Unavailable, Inventory Encumbrance, Item Under Review, a 3P seller taking the buy box, etc. 


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