For the past century, virtually all companies have needed paper goods and wholesale office supplies. However, in the past decade or so, businesses have started going paperless. That is the reason for the recent decrease in wholesale ordering of different types of office supplies. Nevertheless, the market is still very large and distributors are striving to adapt to digitalization and changes. The majority of companies still find suppliers and benefit from their wholesale price on stationery and office accessories. In this article, we’ll share more details about the wholesale office supplies market. Continue reading to find out what are the most essential office supplies and what other products distributors in this field offer.
The Office Supplies Market
In the last decade, wholesale sales and revenue of office supply companies have decreased by around 50%. That’s largely due to the increased usage of electronic devices like laptops and smartphones. Schools and universities are also aggressively digitalizing. That has had a big impact on wholesale office supplies and stationery distributors. Here are some facts about the current state of the office supplies market.
- Despite the decline, the niche is still huge. The global office supplies market size is expected to be worth more than $168 billion in 2023.
- New markets emerge. Although the US and the West are gradually switching to digital alternatives, the demand for paper products and office supplies is increasing in developing countries.
- Distributors of wholesale office supplies are adapting. With the steady increase of work from home, a lot of distributors have combined eCommerce tools and a direct to consumer business approach.
Furthermore, traders also offer not only wholesale office supplies but various additional product categories. A few examples include janitorial supplies for offices and break room accessories like disposable tableware.
- High costs of raw materials are hurting the market. Recent supply chain disruptions and inflation have increased the prices of raw materials such as wood and plastic significantly. Producers have mostly carried these increases to their customers. However, price increases have led to additional decreases in demand.
Key takeaway: As businesses are gradually switching to digital solutions, the wholesale office supplies market is shrinking. Nevertheless, businesses trading with these items are adapting to the reality by increasing their product portfolio and switching to eCommerce. They’re also striving to incorporate B2C sales into their business model as more and more people who work from home need office supplies.
Most Essential Office Supplies
From catering businesses to marketing agencies, various companies purchase wholesale office supplies. The main benefit of partnering with distributors of these products is the lower cost per unit. Furthermore, suppliers have large catalogs and offer a wide range of products. Let’s dive deeper into the most essential office supplies needed by businesses.
Wholesale Paper Products
This category includes not only printer paper but also notebooks and specialty products like colored paper rolls. Thermal rolls, labels, and sticky notes are among the popular paper goods too.
Shipping and Packaging Supplies
With the increase in online sales, businesses need more packaging and shipping supplies like cardboard boxes and protective packaging products. The eCommerce boom has also prompted innovation in that field. New solutions in the field emerge constantly.
This category includes miscellaneous retail and wholesale products like staplers and desk organizers. There are dozens of subcategories of office accessories.
Pens and pencils might not be as frequently used in our daily lives as they were a decade ago, but they are still among the essential tools purchased from distributors of wholesale office supplies. Markers and highlighters are also among the main wholesale items to sell to offices and other businesses.
Flash drives, cables, and batteries are also important accessories used by businesses. This category can also include electronics such as keyboards, headsets, and computer mice.
Other Product Categories Sold by Wholesale Office Suppliers
One of the advantages of working with wholesalers is that they take care of the shipping and handling. That’s why businesses might purchase various additional products from distributors of wholesale office supplies.
Chairs and desks are among the most important office equipment. That’s why it is no wonder that some wholesalers of office supplies offer such products as well. Other subcategories of the office furniture section include file cabinets and other storage solutions.
Some suppliers might also sell monitors, office phone systems, printers, and other types of electronics.
Wholesale janitorial supplies play an important part in sanitation and the general atmosphere in the office. That’s why distributors might offer bulk cleaning solutions or other products like smoke detectors.
Break Room Supplies
A well-supplied office break room is important for a calm and relaxing office atmosphere. Some distributors sell products like coffee stations, reusable or biodegradable tableware, and even drinks & snacks.
Naturally, handwriting and notebooks are often associated with school. That’s why wholesalers expand their product portfolio to include school accessories and supplies as well. This subcategory can include various items such as art supplies or classical classroom products like notebooks and rulers.
Frequently Asked Questions about Wholesale Office Supplies
Although office accessories and supplies have been a part of our daily lives for decades, you might have some questions on the topic. Below we’ve shed some light on commonly asked questions regarding office supplies.
Are Paper and Office Supplies Less Needed Nowadays?
As we mentioned earlier, the market for wholesale office supplies is declining. That’s largely because various businesses are becoming more digital every day. That’s why there’s less demand for paper products nowadays. However, analog stationery still has many benefits compared to its digital counterparts. Allow us to share some of them.
- Personalization. With the help of paper and stationery products, you can easily color-code and personalize your notes.
- The pleasure of writing. A lot of people refuse to keep digital notes and instead handwrite their to-do lists. That’s because of the tactile pleasure of writing on paper. Many cherish the freedom of expression and the satisfaction that comes with handwriting.
- Improves memory. As the process of handwriting stimulates the brain more compared to typing, it’s associated with improved memory and information retention.
What Is the Difference between Office Equipment and Supplies?
Office equipment are lasting items that are used on a daily basis but stay in the office much longer compared to supplies. Good examples of office equipment include computers, desks, and chairs. As the industry of wholesale office supplies is changing rapidly, many distributors have started offering equipment as well. That’s why you’ll often find categories like printers or even conference room tables in eCommerce stores that sell office supplies. These businesses are adapting to the new situation. With a growing number of people working from home and the office supplies market being in decline, wholesale distribution companies are striving to expand their product portfolio.
What Is the Difference between Office Stationery and Supplies?
Generally speaking, stationery products are one of the categories in the broad term office supplies. The most popular types of stationery include paper products and writing instruments subcategories. Other products that are considered to be in the stationery category are tools like staplers and file folders. Distributors of wholesale office supplies usually offer wholesale stationery as well. Furthermore, most suppliers can provide custom-made options like branded paper or custom forms.