Research: State of the Industry 2020-2021 Preview

Standing at the crossroads.


Were the events of 2020 a definitive turning point for the global office products industry? Will 2021 continue the upheaval seen in the market in the last 12 months or will it settle back into something resembling what it used to be?

At this difficult time – and perhaps more so than ever – senior business supplies executives all over the world have no choice but to re-evaluate and redefine their strategies to successfully navigate the next few years. And they have plenty more questions:

  • Are traditional ‘core’ office supplies now just legacy products?
  • Will the industry continue to see exponential growth in sales of janitorial and PPE items?
  • Will demand for catering supplies through our channels begin to revive?
  • Will demand for office furniture return to pre-COVID levels?
  • Will the online players – and in particular Amazon – lose share as lockdown retreats?
  • Will managed print service (MPS) arrangements reclaim the share lost to transactional sales of printer consumables?

Learning from leaders

All these questions demand reliable answers from trusted sources. The State of the Industry 2020-2021 is the eighth edition of the annual research study conducted by Martin Wilde Associates (MWA) and OPI. It provides those answers, and many more, by asking some of the best minds in the industry – the senior executives running the major OP companies around the world.

Based on in-depth and online interviews with these executives in Australia, Benelux, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and the USA, the report this year will focus particularly on the crucial KPIs that the COVID-19 crisis has been affecting.

What, for example, were respondents’ overall revenue and margin trends in 2020 and 2021 and which product categories make up the bulk of those sales? What was/is the value of the core OP market in 2020 and 2021? And what role did Amazon play in terms of its share of the core OP market in each country in 2020? Will survey respondents fight back this year against any share takings?

Indeed, how important was online shopping in 2020 overall and will this trajectory continue? To what extent did the pandemic affect average order values? As regards the logistics side of things, what share of resellers’ deliveries were to home addresses in 2020 – what will this share likely be in 2021?

There’s no question about the many adaptations companies have had to make to their businesses to weather the storm in 2020. The interview responses will provide an insight into those changes as well as a plan of recovery for this year.

Our industry is undoubtedly standing at a crossroads in 2021. More than ever, your future business strategy needs reliable, informed input from peers and competitors – the State of the Industry 2020-2021 report provides exactly that.

To order your copy, visit The report is available for £899 (approx. $1,250) and will be published in May 2021.