The popularity of adult colouring books over the past few years has been staggering. However, is the bubble about to burst on this lucrative market?
Over the past few years, we have become more aware of “mindfulness” and stress management. Adult colouring books have been a popular way for people to take time out from their busy lives and relax.
In 2015, three of the top 10 Amazon best sellers in the US were colouring book for adults. In addition, sales of products such as coloured pens and pencils also increased. This was under the backdrop of an otherwise declining traditional office supplies market.
Yet, despite this success, has the market for adult colouring books now reached a plateau? Whilst a large online retailer like Amazon can adapt to changes in demand, it is a challenge for bricks and mortar stores.
Adult Colouring Book Sales Declining
Barnes & Noble, the largest book retailer in the US has recently reported a drop in sales. Bloomberg reports that a predicted decline of 1.6% in same store sales for Q1 was actually 8.3%. This was the worst holiday quarter drop in over a decade. Over all in the US sales were down by 2 million in December 2016.
In the UK, WH Smith has also seen a reduction in adult colouring book sales, having reached a peak last year. In January 2017, WH Smith Chief Executive, Stephen Clarke stated sales had fallen 60-70% in comparison to a year previously.
Speaking in The Guardian, Clarke says:
“They have fallen off a cliff. Last year was their first year really and people are no longer colouring in the way they were.”
Yet, it is not all bad news for the retailer who has now been on our high street for 225 years. A new trend has emerged to take over from colouring books, spoof humour books. With titles including, Five on Brexit Island and the Ladybird Book of the Meeting they are the latest best sellers, for now.