NPD expects total revenue for US office supplies industry to rise 1% in 2022, driven by 6% growth during back-to-school season on Q3; average selling prices expected to increase 8% year-over-year in 2022, resulting in 6% annual unit sales decline

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PORT WASHINGTON, New York , May 17, 2022 (press release) –

According to The NPD Group, the U.S. office supplies industry is among the many being impacted by rising average sales prices (ASPs), and while this is likely to lead to revenue gains, unit sales are in decline. For office supplies products, excluding storage categories as well as janitorial and breakroom supplies, the overall industry ASP is up 10% in Q1 2022 vs. Q1 2021 and has climbed 21% when compared to pre-pandemic Q1 2019. Based on the newly released Future of Office Supplies forecast, ASPs are expected to be up 8% year over year in 2022, resulting in a 6% annual unit sales decline. However, industry revenue is expected to increase 1%, driven by 6% growth during the back-to-school season (Q3 2022). 

“Several factors are driving the elevated industry pricing including a shift in product mix due to the increased demand for work-from-home and activity-related products, as well as a reduction in the number of units on promotion,” said Leen Nsouli, executive director and office supplies industry analyst for NPD. “In addition to pricing, the acceleration in technology usage for education both at home and in the classroom is impacting office/school supplies sales. It will be important for industry players to leverage this as an opportunity for growth through partnerships and innovation regarding how traditional supplies are used.”

Looking ahead through 2024, both industry revenue and unit sales are expected to see low single-digit declines year over year in 2023 and 2024. Despite these declines, there are several office supplies categories that are expected to sustain higher revenue sales in 2024 than pre-pandemic 2019. Categories such as writing, coloring and art, mail and ship, and office essentials are forecasted to see continued demand keeping sales above 2019 levels. In fact, the Future of Office Supplies forecast reports U.S. industry performance through 2024 will see revenue growth of 5% vs. 2019 (excluding storage categories as well as janitorial and breakroom supplies). 

“There are many areas of opportunity in the coming years for retailers and manufacturers in the office supplies industry. Year-to-date we are seeing growth in categories related to children’s activities, project or collaboration-oriented supplies, and printable specialty paper. It will be key for organizations to develop partnerships across store departments to facilitate new use-cases for office supplies products, continue product innovation to drive category growth, and keep a pulse on consumer sensitivity and reaction to price changes,” noted Nsouli.

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