Research: State of the Industry Preview


The global business products (BP) industry this side of the COVID-19 pandemic is looking very different to the one that went into it. Amazon now typically accounts for at least a quarter of manufacturers’ sales and it’s a percentage which is rising rapidly.

For resellers in our sector, the prime focus now is to maximise the opportunities and minimise the risks. But there are things they need to know to allow them to do this effectively:

  • What is the current market penetration of Amazon and Amazon Business, and what can resellers still do to respond to this giant?
  • Which new product areas have emerged as real opportunities?
  • Which new channels/distributors offer potential?
  • How important are online marketplaces/platforms and what are the key players at present?
  • How have the changes in ownership in 2021 of the former big boxes affected the market and what type of operator (if any) is now in the best position to service the corporate sector?
  • What will be the effect on industry players of the ending of government support schemes for businesses initiated during the pandemic (eg the UK’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Employer Retention Tax Credit in the US)?
  • Which factors (raw materials, labour, logistics, fuel) will represent the greatest inflationary threat for businesses in 2022 and what responses are planned to adapt to this?

Asking the experts

All of the above questions demand reliable answers from trusted sources. The State of the BP Industry 2021-2022, the ninth edition of Martin Wilde Associates (MWA) and OPI’s annual research study, does just that. It offers insight by asking some of the sharpest minds in the industry – the senior executives running the major BP companies globally – these and many other vital questions.

Based on in-depth and online interviews with these executives in Australia, Benelux, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and the US, the survey will also focus on the crucial KPIs that the COVID crisis has been affecting.

What, for example, were respondents’ overall revenue and margin trends in 2021 and, going forward, what are the expectations for 2022? What share of distributors’ sales were accounted for by jan/san supplies, breakroom/catering products, workwear/PPE and MPS in the same period?

What share of resellers’ sales were via the web in 2021 and how will this percentage evolve in 2022? And what about resellers’ average order values – how have they been and will continue to be impacted? Finally, what was the value of the core office products market in 2021; what will it be in 2022 and where are the growth trends?

invaluable resource

The study will report on respondents’ perceptions of the main growth – as well as declining – product categories and channels in 2021 and 2022. It will further detail the 2021 financial performance of the key 15 distributors in our sector in the US, Europe and Australia.

Research for this study, which will be invaluable to the future business strategy of the BP industry’s main protagonists, commences in January 2022, with the report being published in April this year.

The State of the BP Industry 2021-2022 is available for £690 (approx. $900) if ordered before 31 March 2022, and for £950 ($1,250) thereafter. To order your copy, go to