I haven’t yet had a chance to officially wish all of you reading the blog a Happy New Year! If you blinked, you may have missed it but a mailer from Fahrney’s Pens at the end of last year alluded to a price increase for some of Pelikan’s products in 2021. The actual header read, “Certain models increase in price effective January 1.” The United States has seen a steady rise in prices for Pelikan’s fine writing instruments and inks over the last several years. Some of that is to be expected due to inflation, fluctuations in manufacturing costs, and the numerous other factors that play into market pricing. Still, the United Sates remains home to some of the highest prices for Pelikan’s products anywhere around the globe. Increases this year may be more justified than years past due to the economic realities brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s without dispute that every step of the manufacturing process has been impacted. Raw materials are harder to source and production costs have risen. For the most part, ink pricing has remained stable and some pen pricing is relatively flat. On the one hand, we see some notable increases for models within the Classic series and on the other, some small reductions in Souverän pricing. Across the board, effective January 1st, 2021, there was what looks to be an average increase of nearly 5% in the company’s MSRP across all product lines for the United States’ market. Read on to get a sense of which of your preferred products may have been affected.
In January of this year, I reported that Pelikan pens equipped with an EF nib and sold in the European Union were to experience a price increase of 10-12%. We have since seen this in full effect across all of the releases out of Hanover this year. What this translates into is that an EF furnished M800 cost €44 (~$50.79) more, an M600 cost €32 (~$36.94) more, and an M205 cost €10.40 (~$12.01) more than the same model equipped with an F, M, or B nib. To add insult to injury, it’s not as if the premium price is buying anything new or improved. So why did Pelikan single out the EF nib? The official explanation offered was that EF nibs are popular, make up a decent portion of sales and, due to their extra fine width, take more time to produce due to the extra grinding and polishing that needs to occur for a smooth writing experience. If that justification sounds weak, consider the alternative explanation put forth by several sources citing that the unofficial reason for this price increase was to discourage EU vendors from selling their wares to Asia. The implication then is that the price increase represented Pelikan’s attempt to further control the market. To date, the United States has been spared from this practice. Perhaps that is due to the fact that U.S. customers already pay a significant premium when purchasing domestically. Well, it appears the other shoe has finally dropped and, to the excitement of no one, Pelikan has decided to extend the EF premium across the pond with the release of the M600 Vibrant Orange.
Rumors began to circulate late last year that Pelikan was considering increasing their European prices. It was unclear at the time as to what such an increase would look like but details have steadily emerged from the European Union over the last few weeks. It is well known that European pricing has long been cheaper than that of the USA and some other regions. US consumers have been able to save hundreds of dollars by shopping from overseas vendors. Pelikan broke routine and caused some consternation regarding the direction of their US pricing strategy when they reduced the US MSRP for their last two releases. The M605 White-Transparent and the M805 Ocean Swirl were priced well below what prior, comparable models commanded. The strategy that Pelikan seemed to be working towards was to level the playing field across the globe. Select Pelikan products from many overseas vendors are about to see a rise in cost. Unfortunately, these newly announced price increases come at the same time as the company’s 180th anniversary which will be marked by the release of many new special and limited edition pens. While this would usually be cause for celebration amongst enthusiast, the price increases could certainly dampen enthusiasm for the new products.
The new year has brought with it the welcomed news of several upcoming and promising releases. Unfortunately, not all news is good news and on Monday, February 15th, we will be forced to contend with price increases across most of Pelikan’s lines. Nobody likes to read headlines of a cost increase but I think that this round of new fees in particular won’t sit well with the community at large. It is unclear to me whether or not these new prices will be effected globally but I do know that the U.S.A., already historically priced above overseas vendors, will be sure to see the fares outlined below.