Research: State of the Industry 2019-20 preview


Standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world. But despite all the challenges and turmoil the office supplies industry is currently facing, at least it can’t be accused of being stationary. There have been some fundamental shifts across all business channels, especially when looking at M&A activity over the past year.

The most prominent deal, of course, was the acquisition of US wholesaler Essendant by Sycamore Partners, the private equity firm that owns Staples Inc. Another major development in the market was the merging of dealer groups Independent Suppliers Group, TriMega Purchasing Association and Pinnacle Associates.

Across the Atlantic, European wholesaler ADVEO finally crumbled, resulting in the loss of its Spanish, Italian and German subsidiaries, while its French and Benelux divisions were sold to private equity firm Sandton Capital. Meanwhile, Office Depot Europe has disposed of its Central and Eastern European business, and Staples Solutions has offloaded its retail and online division in Germany, four direct brands in France, Italy and Spain, and its IT services arm in Sweden.

The Australian market has also had a busy year in terms of industry consolidation from both a vendor and reseller perspective. Added to this are underlying trends such as the continual decline in traditional OP coupled with the rise of adjacent product categories; new channels of distribution; managed print services taking greater share from transactional sales; and the relentless expansion and growth of Amazon Business.

Putting it into perspective 

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg concerning the transformations occurring in our industry and forms the backdrop to the seventh edition of The State of the OP Industry 2019-20.

The annual research study will investigate 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 around 50 senior OP sector executives in these countries.

The report will collate the 2019 financial performance of the key 15 OP distributors in the US, Europe and Australia, as well as highlight the main industry events of the year. Global specialist OP market researchers Martin Wilde Associates (MWA) will once again work with OPI on the data, analysis and commentary in this ‘must have’ authoritative sourcebook for the industry.

The State of the OP Industry 2019-20 aims to answer the following questions for each country market covered by the study:

  • What is the value of the core OP market?
  • What are the core OP market growth trends?
  • What is the value of the addressable facilities supplies market?
  • What are respondents’ overall revenue and margin trends?
  • 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?
  • Which product categories are growing or declining?
  • Which distribution channels are winning or losing?
  • What share of respondents’ sales are in e-commerce and own label products?
  • What is Amazon’s share of the core OP market?
  • What effect is the breakup of global OP distributors having on the industry?
  • What is the future of OP wholesaling?
  • What will be the effect of a possible global tariff war?