Free desk calendars in short supply

With days before the new year, printed planners, diaries and calendars are increasingly scarce as companies cut costs

Mr Peter Lim, who has been using desk calendars for years, with his old and new calendars.
Mr Peter Lim, who has been using desk calendars for years, with his old and new calendars.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

With just days before the start of 2021, many are hunting for planners, diaries and desk calendars for the new year.

However, it may be harder this year to get hold of a desk calendar, which is usually given out as a corporate gift or mailed to households by companies hoping to promote their brands.

In a year marked by the coronavirus pandemic, printers are cutting down on their output of desk calendars due to lower demand from companies trying to reduce spending.

Seven out of nine printing companies interviewed by The Straits Times said they are printing fewer desk calendars for next year, as companies are not ordering as many as before.

Ms Fizza Bhaimeya, owner of Infinity Zap and Print Services, said that while the company used to produce desk calendars for seven to eight companies annually, there were "zero" corporate orders this year.

She attributed it to more working from home this year and hence not needing the calendars.

Another printing company told The Straits Times off the record that its orders of desk calendars for the new year had dropped to about half compared with last year, due to fewer people working in offices.

While full-time investor Peter Lim, 59, typically receives two to three calendars from banks and insurance agents in the mail every year, he did not receive any this year.

For the new year, he will be using a desk calendar given by his neighbour.

Mr Lim has been using desk calendars since the late 1980s.

"Back then, there was no computer or mobile phone, so I used desk calendars to keep track of my schedule," he says.

But he is resigned to the fact that they will one day become obsolete.

"With a desk calendar, you can see one whole month of activity at a glance. This is better than using the calendar on the phone, where you have to press different buttons to view each day's activities," he says.

"It's unavoidable that desk calendars will be replaced by digital calendars in time - but until then, I will continue using desk calendars if I receive them. "

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2020, with the headline 'Free desk calendars in short supply'. Print Edition | Subscribe