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: