Preview: The State Of The OP Industry 2017-18

The view from the top.


It’s been another turbulent year in the global business supplies industry. Despite economic recovery in most markets, overall demand for traditional office supplies is steady at best, and in decline in many countries. Instead, distributors are reporting increasing sales of alternative product categories and services, particularly facilities supplies and business gifts. Managed print services (MPS) is also back on the agenda for many OP distributors. Overall, while margins continue to be under pressure, there are certainly those that have managed to buck the trend.

So what is the current estimated value of the core OP market, how has this changed in 2017 and what’s the forecast for 2018? Which of the various sub-categories that resellers are now selling are faring the worst and the best? What share of sales does MPS now account for and who are these distributors that continue to do well among all the pressures they are facing?

And what about Amazon Business which is now a force in several countries? What share of the core OP market does it have and where is the online giant most successful? Also, and with the more established players in our industry in mind, what effect has the disposal of Staples’ and Office Depot’s international business had on the market?

Providing the answers

There are so many questions in today’s fast-changing market that senior industry executives need an authoritative source that gives them the necessary information and allows them to evaluate and then drive their businesses forward against an ever-evolving competition. 

Martin Wilde Associates (MWA) and OPI will be exploring all these issues and provide some answers in the forthcoming report, The State of the OP Industry 2017-18, the fifth edition of this annual research study and ‘must-have’ sourcebook for our industry.

The report investigates the OP markets in the US, Canada, Benelux, France, Germany, the UK and Australia in detail and is based on insights and data collected from in-depth and online interviews with senior OP industry executives in those countries. It also comprises the 2017 financial performance of the key 15 OP distributors in the US and Europe, as well as highlights the main industry events of 2017.

Aside from the aforementioned issues, the data collected from the industry executives aims to answer these questions for each country market covered:

  • What was the value of the addressable facilities supplies market in 2017?
  • What are respondents’ overall revenue and margin trends in 2017/2018?
  • What share of respondents’ sales are accounted for by jan/san supplies, breakroom/catering supplies, workwear/PPE, business gifts/promotional products, MPS and well-being/ergonomic products in 2017/2018?
  • Which product categories are growing or declining overall in 2017/2018?
  • Which distribution channels won or lost share in 2017/2018?
  • What are the shares of respondents’ sales in e-commerce and own label products in 2017/2018?

The State of the OP Industry 2017-18, published in March 2018 by MWA and OPI, is available for £599 ($800) if ordered before 31 January 2017 and for £850 thereafter. To order your copy, please visit