Manufacturing & Supply

Office Supplies

Industry Overview

Office supply companies often sell to a wide market, and have extensive product ranges.  They sell the major retailers and wholesale/distributors all across the world including Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples.

Demand is driven by the level of business activity. The profitability of individual companies depends on effective merchandising and an efficient distribution model. Large companies have economies of scale in purchasing and the ability to stock wider ranges of products.  Small companies can compete by providing superior customer service and by offering specialty items.

The industry's major product segments include computer hardware, software and supplies (27 percent), office paper (14 percent), stationery (12 percent) and furniture (8 percent).  Many larger office supplies retailers also offer technology assistance and copy and printing services to extend the service offer to the consumer and business (B2B & B2C).

Global retailers become larger

The consolidation of retailers suppliers globally and locally, plus the focus on retail ‘big-box superstores’ means that competition is being intensified, but by fewer players.  Today, there are more and more recognized product brands that are being managed by even fewer entities (suppliers) within office-specialty retailers with fewer owners.

The office-supply wholesale model is also undergoing significant changes.  Traditional office-supply wholesale has been replaced by a new age B2B models within the current major retail chains.  The industry is rapidly towards more ways to reach the end-consumer B2C.  Digital elements such as webstores, online print management, all pave the way to the office supply segment being more efficient and diverse in the way they have to do business.