The office supplies industry consists of office supplies that are retailed in stores that sell these products to consumers. The core office supplies market consists of stationery, paper, pens, storage containers, pencils, etc. The big retailers buy stock from manufacturers. The wholesalers who sell office supplies in wholesale are a part of this market too. Wholesalers focus on selling a range of office supplies although their main goal is to sell the basic office supplies that are always in demand. Wholesalers are able to provide office equipment at a bundle that enables small businesses of office supplies to save when they buy in bulk. This has shown an increase in demand.
The office supplies industry in North America is $82 billion, in the Asia Pacific it is more than $57 billion, in Europe it is over $46 billion, and in Middle East Asia the market size of office supplies is more than $27 billion. According to the experts at Beroe, the global office supplies industry is estimated to grow more than $240 billion by the end of 2020 with a CAGR of 2.4%. Note that the office supply categories include non-core office supplies which are included in this such as workwear safety and cleaning supplies. However, Beroe’s market intelligence predicts that the core office supplies will see a decrease in demand as digitization will continue to see growth.
There are high maturity regions and then there are low maturity regions. The high maturity regions when it comes to the office supplies market are Western Europe, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Belgium, the U.S., France, Norway, Sweden, Hungary, Italy, the UK, and the Netherlands. The low maturity regions include most regions of Asia, South America, and Africa where local office supply providers are more in demand. The local suppliers provide self-branded office supplies. In such places, there is no or minimal presence of global office suppliers according to a report by Beroe. Now global suppliers are expanding the services they offer.
The office supply industry trends show that the integration of IT has increased the demand for printer and computer supplies. There is likely to be a high demand for toner cartridges in the future as the CAGR is more than 9%. There is stiff competition among the office supply industries because the profit margins are decreasing. In the past few years, many office supplies stores have been shut due to digitization. While price retains the top spot for people not buying from stores, there are other factors involved such as geographic coverage. In developed countries, eco-friendly products are becoming highly popular.
There are a few key global suppliers in the office supplies industry. Amazon Retail is one of the top global suppliers which serves small offices and mid-sized offices all over the globe. Amazon Business has its presence in India, Spain, the UK, Japan, Germany, the US,. Italy, and France. Staples has a global presence in Europe, Singapore, North America, Taiwan, India, Australia, New Zealand, and China. Lyreco has a presence in some countries of LATAM and APAC while it serves Europe and North America. Office Depot is another key global supplier that supplies to some countries in APAC, North America, and Europe.
The office supplies market growth depends on various factors. There are some global drivers and restrictions that will affect growth. The biggest factor is raw material. Raw materials form a large part of the cost structure and any price fluctuations will directly impact the prices of the office supplies. Examples of raw materials used in office supplies include wood, paper, steel, plastic, and rubber. According to Beroe’s market intelligence report, the larger suppliers in the office supplies industry have focused on their self-branded products to get higher profit margins. An example is Staples which has a revenue generation of 30% from self-branded products.
Online ordering is another driver as businesses are able to provide competitive prices on their office supplies products. For example, Staples provides an online ordering process so that customers can easily order online. Many of the office supply businesses are now focusing on providing non-core office supply products such as technical equipment. Digital marketing is another driver as office supplies businesses are expanding their presence with the help of online platforms such as social media. E-auctioning is becoming increasingly popular and it is not only global suppliers that are participating but local suppliers too.
As emerging markets focus on education there has been an increase in demand for office supplies in these regions. An increase in literacy rates in developing nations is also a driving factor in demand. As there are more job opportunities created in emerging markets such as the developing nations, the demand is only increasing for office supply products. In addition to this, the increasing numbers of MNCs are driving forces behind an increase in demand for office supply products. While there are changes in how the suppliers are investing in different regions, the office supplies industry is still going strong and there is a chance that it will continue to be the case.