Crayola has cornered the market on colors. The crayon maker's 10 most popular colors include blue, red, violet, green, carnation pink, black, turquoise blue, blue green, periwinkle, and magenta. It produces about 3 billion crayons a year, as well as other Crayola art products for children, such as markers and craft and activity kits. Crayola also makes Silly Putty, the iconic silicone putty with utility; and inkTank pens and markers for adults. The firm's products are packaged in many languages and sold worldwide. Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith sold their first Crayola crayons in 1903, when a box of eight cost a nickel. Crayola is a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards.
Looking to cater to those who don't use crayons, Crayola serves the professional market with its inkTank line and its Portfolio Series collection of color pencils, oil pastels, and acrylic paints.
Crayola's crayons are made in Easton and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and in Mexico City. Crayola gives its products an extended reach via partnerships. Through Vivid Imaginations, a toy and gift product developer, and its Nomad Company (acquired in 2008), Crayola distributes its branded toys and stationery products across Continental Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
Crayola rules the crayon market. While no one outside the company knows its exact share, it's estimated to be at least 80% of the US market. High brand recognition and intense consumer loyalty allow Crayola to charge a price premium of as much as 300% above its competitors. However, competition has heated up in recent years. Retailers, including rivals Wal-Mart Stores and Target, have been heavily discounting Crayola products to spur sales, cutting into Crayola's profits. Also rivals, including MEGA Brands-owned Roseart, are jockeying for position. In 2010, competition was its fiercest yet, with about a dozen companies fighting for the same sale.
Hallmark bought the crayon maker in 1984. Lesser-known Binney & Smith changed its name to Crayola in 2007 to reflect its iconic product. – less