How America's New Political Activism Can Actually Boost the Economy

March 24th 2017

Almie Rose

When President Donald Trump said he would stimulate the economy, he probably didn't mean by buying art supplies.


However, an article in The New York Times on Wednesday has some impressive stats on the sharp increase in sales at office and art supply stores, thanks to people buying poster board and other materials to make protest signs.

Facebook post about an empty poster rack.

"The week before the Women’s March on Jan. 21 in cities across the United States," Christopher Mele writes, "protesters who were making signs helped fuel increased sales of poster boards by 33 percent and foam boards by 42 percent compared with the same week last year, the consumer research group NPD reported recently."

So what does that translate to in dollars? Looking at poster board sales solely from Jan. 15 to 21 the answer is "$4.1 million."

And if you're going to buy poster board, you're probably going to buy markers as well — which proved to be true, as sales of writing implements and other materials also shot up: "Specialty markers were up by 24 percent; permanent markers, 12 percent; glue, 27 percent; and scissors, 6 percent."

Leen Nsouli, an actual Office Supplies Industry Analyst whose report was used in the New York Times article wrote for The NPD Group, on Mar. 15 about the undeniable link. "Setting political views aside," she noted, "the women’s movement has positively influenced the sales of office supplies."


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It didn't stop with signage; people also bought blank t-shirts and fabric paint, Nsouli reported: "fabric paint sales the week before the march were up at least three-times as much compared to the other weeks in January."

Are sales expected to rise?

The Women's March on Washington was, as The Washington Post reported on Feb. 7, "likely the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history." So it isn't as though protests of that scope are occurring every day, though protests all over the country continue to happen, lately in reaction to Trump's travel ban.


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"More events have taken place since the January march, and there is discussion that similar events are planned for the future," Nsouli wrote, "presenting an opportunity for retailers and manufacturers to monitor and prepare for product demand in larger cities where they typically occur."

To quote Staples, "It pays to be a Staples Rewards® member."

[H/T New York Times]