Report: Swimming With Piranha

Market Research Study On The Future Of The OP Industry, by Martin Wilde Associates and OPI. This report looks into Amazon's current and potential B2B customer base for office products as well as answering other key questions on OP purchasing.




In early 2014, Martin Wilde Associates (MWA) and OPI published The State Of The OP Industry 2013-14, a report based on a survey of the views and expectations of 51 key office products (OP) industry CEOs. The report found that:

  • The distribution channel that was most widely reported to have won market share in 2013 was Amazon/eBay (84% of all respondents).
  • The distribution channel that was most widely expected to take share in 2014 was Amazon/eBay (72%).

There is no doubt that Amazon – as well as other broad line e-commerce specialists such as eBay – will be a major factor in the future of the OP industry.  However, little is known about their current and potential B2B customer base for office products. For example:

  • What types of businesses have bought OP from Amazon in the last 12 months?
  • What kinds of products – and what share of end-users’ total OP purchases – are currently being purchased via Amazon?
  • What are the perceived benefits and disbenefits of buying OP from Amazon?
  • What are the perceptions of service from Amazon, compared to other major national OP resellers?
  • What are the perceptions of the Amazon Basics brand?
  • To what extent is Amazon used for making price comparisons with offline resellers?
  • Which OP supply channels have lost out to Amazon?
  • Do customers navigate directly to Amazon or do they just search for products online and find themselves at Amazon?
  • Once at the Amazon site, do customers prefer to buy from Amazon or from an Amazon Marketplace seller?
  • How will OP sourcing from Amazon change in future?

All of these key questions will be addressed in Swimming With Piranha*, a new research study by Martin Wilde Associates (MWA) – specialist researchers to the global OP market – and OPI. For more information please download the brochure below.



The research programme will result in the publication of two separate reports – one on the US and one on the UK – featuring the results of 400 interviews with B2B end-user OP buyers carried out in each country. Quotas will be applied to the research sample to ensure that a range of all business sizes and activities are covered.

The interviews will also include respondents’ answers to other key questions, including:

  • From which channels do respondents currently purchase ‘traditional’ OP, paper, EOS, furniture, catering supplies, JanSan, business machines and print? How will this change in future?
  • How is OP purchasing currently organised (ie contract or adhoc?) and how is this changing?
  • If supply contracts are in place, how is the core list controlled and how much is spent outside of this?
  • What sources of information do respondents use to select products and to find out about new products?
  • How frequently are orders placed, what is the average order value?
  • What are the key factors in the choice of OP supplier?
  • What speed and type of delivery service is required and how is this changing?
  • How important is supplier trustworthiness/service reliability?

Research for the study will commence in July 2014, with the two reports being published in late autumn 2014.

Each of these authoritative reports is available for only US$2,995 (£1,750) per country if ordered before 14 July 2014, and for US$3,750 (£2,200) per country thereafter. To order your copies, please click here

* Why Piranha? Piranhas live in the rivers of several South American countries, including the Amazon. While they tend to hunt alone, occasionally a whole shoal will go into a feeding frenzy and strip a much larger fish or mammal of its flesh in no time. There may be an analogy here….