Main Categories and Different Types of Office Supplies

Nick Mirev
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    Although emails and direct messages have gradually replaced letters and other forms of communication on paper, businesses still use various types of office supplies. They often purchase these tools from wholesale distribution companies so that way they can benefit from the lower wholesale price. Wholesale office supplies are also a popular category sold by dropshippers. They set up eCommerce stores and partner with large brands. Thus, they utilize the dropshipping model for one of the most popular niches of wholesale items to sell. In this blog article, we’ll dive deeper into the main types of office supplies used by businesses and individuals. We’ll also share what other products can be bought by distributors of office supplies.

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    Different Types of Office Supplies

    Paper Goods

    Although businesses are striving to become increasingly paperless, printer paper and notebooks are still among the most crucial types of office supplies. That category also includes products like sticky notes and a wide range of specialty paper products.


    With increased digitalization, people use products like paper clips and staplers less frequently. Nevertheless, they can often be seen on top of desks in offices.

    Writing Instruments

    Pens and markers are the two main subcategories here. Other writing instruments that are used by businesses include pencils and highlighters.


    Products like keyboards and computer mice are rapidly replacing pens and paper. They are part of our daily lives and often need replacing. Other electronics that are sold by distributors of wholesale office supplies include flash drives, memory cards, and batteries.

    Binders, Folders, and Boxes

    Having good organization is very important for any company. That’s why wholesale sales of binders and folders still play an important role in the office supplies market. They have become increasingly more sustainable and are often made from recycled materials.

    Ink and Toner

    The increased digitalization of documents leads to a reduced usage of paper goods and ink. However, printing and copying various documents is still part of the day-to-day tasks in many companies. That’s why it is no surprise that ink and toner products are among the major categories of office supplies.

    Key takeaway: The main categories of office supplies include writing tools and paper goods. However, as businesses need various products in their day-to-day tasks, there are dozens of subcategories offered by wholesalers of office supplies. With the advancement of technology, companies need fewer paper goods and stationery supplies. That’s why the market is expected to shrink in the next decade.
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    Other Products Offered by Distributors of Wholesale Office Supplies

    As many businesses strive to become paperless, wholesalers of different types of office supplies have started offering other product categories as well. That way, distributors aim to offer the convenience of supplying all products necessary for day-to-day business tasks.

    Computers and Peripheral Devices

    Every few years, office computers and laptops need to be upgraded or replaced. That’s why some distributors of wholesale stationery and office supplies might also offer parts or computers. That includes other products such as monitors and printers.

    Other devices offered by some of the large suppliers include communication equipment like adapters, desk phones, or routers.

    Office Furniture

    Desks and chairs are the most obvious examples of office furniture. However, that category also includes products such as conference room tables and file cabinets. Breakroom furniture sets might also be purchased from office suppliers.

    Cleaning and Maintenance Products

    Every business needs to maintain adequate hygiene. That’s why office distributors also sell wholesale janitorial supplies. Cleaning products and consumables are the main products traded by these businesses. However, during the flu season, companies also stock sanitizers and personal protective equipment like masks and gloves. 

    Kitchen and Breakroom Supplies

    Office distributors can increase their profits if they offer categories such as food, snacks, or bottled water. Some wholesalers also install vending machines in offices which have higher profit margins. Many businesses find it convenient to partner with only a handful of suppliers. These distributors can take care of the shipping and handling not only of different office supplies but also of all other items needed for a smooth work environment. That saves companies time and money.

    Restroom Supplies

    Toilet paper and paper towels are good examples of restroom supplies provided by some distributors of office equipment and supplies. Other items in that category include trash bags and air fresheners.

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    Frequently Asked Questions about Different Types of Office Supplies

    Although office supplies like paper and handwriting tools have been around for decades, business owners might still have questions regarding different types of office supplies. Below we’ve gathered some of the common questions in that field. Hopefully, the answers will help you organize the office supplies of your business better or understand the future of the market.

    How to Store Office Supplies?

    Organizing and storing different types of office supplies can be challenging, especially in large organizations. Here are a few ideas to help you get a grip and organize the supplies in your office.

    1. Categorize office supplies by areas in the office. Personal supplies like Post-it notes shouldn’t be mixed with breakroom supplies or items from other office areas.
    2. Label containers and supplies accordingly. You will have a much easier time restocking supplies if they’re labeled and stored properly.
    3. Use both vertical and horizontal office space. That is especially important if your storage premises are small.
    4. Color coding. Implement and encourage your staff to use universal color coding for documents and different types of stationery.

    What Are Sustainable Office Supplies?

    The category of sustainable office supplies includes various types of items and consumable goods that are made from recycled materials. They are also produced in a way that has minimal negative effects on the environment. In recent years, incorporating green policies has become a priority not just for governments but for businesses as well. That’s why sustainability in office supplies has become increasingly important. The main advantage of using reusable solutions or sustainable office products is the lower ecological footprint. Nevertheless, a major reason why businesses and individuals should switch to sustainable office supplies is that they can save money. Using smart notebooks and other products that can be used for many years can lower the cost of goods sold and increase profitability.

    What Is the Future of the Office Supplies Market?

    With recent advances in technology, office supplies become less needed every year. Instead of writing down a to-do list, people just use various apps and software to keep track of their tasks. That is why people are expected to buy lower amounts and fewer types of office supplies in the future. However, wholesale ordering of stationery and office supplies is still a major business niche. Giants like Amazon, Staples, and Office Depot still generate billions in revenue every year from sales of office supplies and accessories. Here are a few future trends in the office supply market.

    1. Sustainability. As we mentioned before, businesses aim to lower their ecological footprint. Thus, they’re likely to find suppliers that can offer green products made from recycled materials.
    2. Direct-to-consumer trade. As a growing number of professionals turn to freelancing or working from home, D2C sales are likely to increase.
    3. New solutions. Products like smart notebooks or erase calendars become more popular compared to their traditional counterparts. Consumers are searching for hassle-free solutions that will save them time and money, and they are likely to find them in such products.
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