FM Supplies: Mountain or Molehill?

With demand for 'traditional' office products (OP) in structural value decline over recent years, OP resellers have increasingly turned to other product areas...

With demand for ‘traditional’ office products (OP) in structural value decline over recent years, OP resellers have increasingly turned to other product areas, recognising the potential opportunities of being a ‘solutions provider’ to their B2B customers, rather than just a supplier of stationery.

One of the main sectors has been FM supplies – or ‘Janitorial/Sanitorial/Breakroom/Industrial/Health & Safety/Mailroom supplies’ – a market that has been conservatively estimated as being approximately 30% larger than the traditional OP sector.

Certainly, OP resellers have seen significant growth in FM’s share of their total sales: in the UK, for example, FM supplies now accounts for:
• 10-15% of total OP wholesaler sales
• Up to 10% of OP dealers’ sales on average.

Indeed, some are reporting annual increases of 8-10% pa in this category – at a time when growth has been hard to find elsewhere.

However, despite this growth, the OP industry still accounts for a very small share of the overall FM supplies market: indeed, in the UK it is believed to be less than 10%. While this could be seen as an opportunity for further growth, it also points to a potential weakness in the OP industry’s position, since there are many other powerful specialist and non-specialist channels also supplying these products – and having a potential interest in supplying OP.

As a result, the OP industry needs to understand how B2B end-user buyers of these products currently behave-and how they are likely to behave in future. Key questions include:
• Who buys these products?
• How many FM product categories do they purchase?
• How much do they spend on these products annually?
• What other products do they buy? Do they also buy OP items?
• Where do they currently buy these products from, and on what basis are suppliers selected?
• Do they buy FM supplies from OP resellers? What share of their purchases do these account for, currently?
• What barriers are preventing the use of OP resellers, and what
would encourage them to purchase FM supplies from them in future?
• What are their service requirements?
• How and where do buyers search for products?
• Which brands are most important?
• How acceptable are private label products?
• How else will the purchasing of these products change in future?

Martin Wilde Associates (MWA) – specialist researchers to the global OP market-and OPI – the global OP industry magazine – are proud to announce the launch of a new research study, “FM Supplies:Mountain or Molehill?”, which aims to provide answers to these and other key questions.

For more information please read the brochure below:

Click here to order your copy