15 November 2018

Reader Question - How many people use paper planners?

I got an interesting email this week from one of our readers.
How many paper planner users there are world-wide?
Do you know how usage is trending?
It is a difficult question to answer in terms of accurate numbers. Yes some of the Facebook groups are over twenty thousand in terms of membership numbers.

However, I doubt that the number of people in a Facebook group reflects an accurate idea of the number of active users of paper planners, even if you added up the number of people in all of the various planner groups and there are lot of them now!

How many users of paper planners would think to join a Facebook group about them? 1%? Higher or lower?

I've personally come across a few of my old friends who have revealed to me that they are ardent Filofax users, when I've mentioned Philofaxy, but they wouldn't necessarily join a group or be regular readers of the blog.

They might emerge once a year when they are looking for diary inserts and ask me if I know where they can get a particular insert or similar.

I then discover they are using a well worn Filofax that they bought in the late 1980's and I have to contain my excitement!

So quantifying the number of users of paper planners I don't think is easy.

Is the number of people using paper planners increasing or decreasing?

I know a lot of people are using their phones these days, they seem to be married to them almost! But I still see a lot of people with notebooks and paper planners and a pen writing things down.

What do you think?


  1. Paper planners and note books all the way here. At work we use a shared calendar on outlook but I still write all appointments in my planner. The shared calendar is just there to inform others I have the appointment. I use my planner to remember the appointments. Couldn't have it any other way.

  2. Personally I use both electronic and paper planners. Creatively speaking, I think you are much less constrained by paper, electronic planners are more restrictive by necessity, so finding one that is your ideal can be difficult. Loss of information, unless you have a reasonably rigourous backup schedule, for electronic methods, can also be a major issue. Using both methods is my ideal.

  3. My Filofax never has a dead battery or finds itself unable to connect to "the cloud"; why, would I rely on anything else?

  4. My Filofax never has a dead battery or an inability to connect to "the cloud"; why would I rely on anything else?

  5. When I first started working 30+ years ago, as an accountant, there were no personal electronic devices out yet-so of course I used paper planning. But in the late ‘90’s, we had the Palm Pilot V, Palm Treo, and the Dell devices that used simple programs to keep track of appointments & contacts. Like so many others, I wanted to see if they would meet my planning needs more efficiently than paper planners. But after losing backups and missing important meetings, I returned to using paper planners-and haven’t looked back since then.
    Currently semi-retired, & working freelance, I’m still happily using paper planners. Paper just satisfies my love of putting ink to paper.

  6. My Filofax Malden Personal goes everywhere with me as it is also my wallet. I even put my iPhone in the back pocket. I also use a Leuchtturm 1917 notebook as a Bullet Journal for my expansive planning & record keeping.

  7. In terms of trends, I suspect it depends on when you are measuring from. I remember seeing a slide from the Filofax lady (sorry, remembering names is not my strong point) at last year's Plannercon Europe showing increasing stationery sales in the past few years. I think usage will be well down on what it was in the 1980s, when we all walked around clutching Filofaxes, seeing as many people prefer electronic means to organise themselves these days (the fools ;-) ). But there are far more of us on the planet now, with generally increasing disposable incomes. I think usage dropped greatly in the nineties and noughties, but is stable/slightly growing currently.

    Just my gut feeling.

  8. I am the same as all above: yes, I do have a phone with calender options, yes, I do have outlook. But for me the paper planner IS the way to go. I sometimes cannot find appointments back, or there are techincal issues and I cannot look in the digital agenda. Nothing of this happens to my paper planner. I have a Hobonichi aside for note taking and other notes, but planning goes in my Filofax/VDS/Gillio (what I am feeling at that moment).

  9. I LOVE my paper planner! I'm a retired massage therapist and used a planner to keep track of appointments. I enjoy watching videos on YouTube where others set up their Filofax, how they make sections to be more productive and even decorate the pages. I'm a visual person and this is how I plan. My kids are the same way. It's seeing a week at a glance to give you a heads up as to what the week entails. People can say paper planners are on their way out, but as long as there are visual people like me, they will sell paper planners.

  10. I would argue that estimating how many people use planners is impossible since we tend to collect them and own more than one.

  11. I bet there are a lot of folks that tried using their phone for planning and then went back to paper planners. I was one of them! It's tough to guess how many but I think there are a lot of paper planner users.

  12. Looking in the shops this week: more paper planners than the last years. Mostly bound or spiral. I think more than 50% of my students (18 -21 y) are using paper planners.

  13. Smartphone and Filofax organiser are the best combo. How else could I browse in my calendar entries for a needed information or free time slot whilst speaking on the phone?