News: A Shifting Pricing Strategy in the U.S. Market?

Pelikan logo cap topsOver the last month, I have been repeatedly asked by fellow pen lovers as to why U.S. prices for Pelikan’s fine writing instruments far exceed that which is available elsewhere.  It’s no secret that over the last few years, an increasingly growing number of U.S. consumers have awakened to the realization that Pelikan fountain pens can often be had for significant savings when purchased from overseas vendors.  The U.S. market has seen a steady increase in the price of Pelikan’s fine writing instruments, the last swell coming in February of 2016.  Consequently, authorized United States’ retailers have historically had to offer their Pelikan wares at significantly higher prices than competing international merchants.  Regardless of what factors may have contributed to that discrepancy, the end result was a tilted playing field that made it incredibly hard for US vendors to compete in what is clearly a global economy.  I have always questioned the disparity in pricing and wondered why U.S. customers are dealt with so differently?  It’s a passionate issue for me because I have a deep affection for the brand but their marketing strategy has prevented me from recommending even an entry level Pelikan pen to anyone starting out in this hobby since these too are often priced higher than competing brands.  

For the last month, I have done extensive research into the economics of why Pelikan’s U.S. pricing might be the way that it is and that is what I intended to present to you today.  Just as I was preparing to publish that article, Pelikan/Chartpak called an audible on me and therefore I have scrapped that entire post in favor of this one.  What I present to you now is evidence that there may be a major shift in U.S. pricing silently occurring and our domestic vendors and their customers are likely to reap the benefits. 

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Chartpak & Their Policies

Pelikan Pen RepairOne of the reasons that Pelikan has such an ardent following is the fact that their pens are durable and dependable.  Pens that are 50+ years old can continue to write problem free if cared for properly.  Despite their durability, there are pens that will experience failure in various situations.  Also, even the best quality control is not infallible and products not quite up to standards will make it past the factory floor and into a consumer’s hands.  Since so many of our purchases occur electronically these days due to the scarcity of brick and mortar stores, there really is not an opportunity to identify many of these flaws before purchase.  Thankfully, there is a system in place for when service is required.  In the United States and Canada, that service is provided by Chartpak, Inc. 

If you peruse Chartpak’s website, you will learn that they were first established in 1949 as a graphic and design products company within the United States.  They have been innovators with products for artists and draftsmen and have expanded their reach over the years by designing products for the engineering and visual communications fields.  The Chartpak of today is described as a global leader in the creative product enterprise and reportedly has 9 brands with 38 product lines that span 17 categories of art materials, fine writing, craft & hobby and office products for home, school, and office.

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