UK dealers forecasting growth

UK independent office products dealers are optimistic that their businesses will achieve solid growth over the next few years.


UK independent office products dealers are optimistic that their businesses will achieve solid growth over the next few years.

That is one of the findings from an informal sampling of UK independent resellers ahead of an in-depth report on the state of the UK independent reseller channel to be published later this year by OPI and Martin Wilde Associates (MWA).

According to the results of questionnaires completed by a number of UK dealers, almost 40% of respondents expect their businesses to grow by 6% and above by the end of 2017, with more than 13% forecasting growth in excess of 20%.

Looking a little further ahead to 2020, more than 85% of those questioned expect their dealerships to be larger than they are now, with almost 25% of the total predicting their businesses to be 50% bigger or more.

Interestingly, the main drivers of growth are expected to come from within, not through acquisitions – over 75% of respondents said they were not looking at making acquisitions in the coming five years.

Instead, dealers intend to focus their efforts on areas such as more sophisticated and efficient prospecting, improving the effectiveness of existing sales teams and training internal service teams to proactively target non-spenders during quiet spells.

Removing unnecessary costs looks set to continue to be a primary focus, as does having a best-in-class web offering.

The full study – called the Phoenix Report – will be published this autumn, comprising two separate reports, one focusing on the UK and the other on the US. Each version features the results of around 200 interviews with OP dealers, as well as six in-depth telephone interviews with major OP wholesalers and dealer groups.

This new study comes after MWA and OPI’s third annual State of the Industry Report – published earlier this year – revealed that the traditional business supplies dealer channel is one of the fastest-growing channels and continues to take market share.

The Phoenix Report therefore takes a closer look at the current state of the independent dealer channel, and is designed to assist business products vendors, wholesalers and dealer groups in assessing the current and future health of this channel so as to optimise their marketing strategies. It will answer a number of key questions, including:

  • What is the current size of the business products dealer universe?
  • What were dealers’ total sales and average gross margins in 2015: how and why are these changing?
  • What were dealers’ sales by broad product category (stationery, paper, EOS, furniture, presentation/planning, breakroom, jan/san, other FM supplies, print) in 2015 and what will they be in 2016?
  • Which new product and service categories are actively being developed by dealers currently?
  • Which end-user markets are being served by dealers and how is the share of each market changing?
  • What is dealers’ current and future dependence on e-commerce, and how do they resource and run their e-commerce operations?
  • Which were the key competitors faced by dealers in 2015 and who will be their major competitors in 2017?
  • What impact is Amazon having on dealers’ business currently and what actions are dealers taking to respond to Amazon?
  • What sources are used by dealers overall and how will the share of each source change by 2017?
  • What are the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the main wholesalers used by dealers?
  • What are the perceived strengths and weaknesses of each dealer group?
  • What share of dealers’ sales were fulfilled by drop shipment in 2015 and how is this changing?
  • To what extent are dealers looking to acquire in the next two years and what kind of business are they looking to acquire?
  • Do dealers have a clearly defined exit strategy?

Each of these authoritative, unique reports is available for a special discounted price of only £1,650 (approximately $2,475) per country (if the order is placed before 15 June 2016). 

Orders placed after 15 June 2016 will cost £1,900 per report (approximately $2,850).

To order your copy, please visit