Published Reports

MWA – in association with OPI – has an ongoing programme of researching and publishing market studies aimed at providing detailed market insights on current industry issues at a very affordable cost, including:

The View From The Top: The State Of The Business Products Industry Report 2023-24 (2024)

This is the eleventh in a series of annual reports summarising OP market performance in key national markets as perceived from in-depth interviews with 68 senior executives in the US, Canada, Benelux, France, Germany, UK and Australia.

The data collected from these senior OP industry executives answers the following questions for each country market:

  • How did core OP market volume and value change in 2023 compared to 2022?
  • How will core OP market volume and value change in 2024?
  • What happened to respondents’ sales volumes, values, margins and profits in 2023?
  • How will their sales values, margins and profits change in 2024?
  • Which product categories were most growing or declining in 2023?
  • Which product categories will win or lose in 2024?
  • Which product areas were opportunities  in 2023?
  • Which new product areas are being developed in 2024?
  • Which distribution channels won or lost in 2023?
  • What will be the key growth and decline channels in 2024?
  • What were the key industry events in 2023?
  • What is the current market share of Amazon/Amazon Business, and what actions are being taken by OP resellers to compete against Amazon?
  • Which new channels/distributors have emerged as opportunities/threats in 2023 and what kind of impact are they having on the market?
  • How important are online marketplaces in the industry at present and who are the key players?
  • What will be the future trends for other key issues, including average order values, the share of on-line sales and the share of sales in office furniture, educaiton supplies, JanSan, breakroom workwear/PPE/signage products  and MPS?
  • What kind of paper catalogues were being published in 2023, how will this change  in 2024 and 2025 and to what extent will the total number of paper catalogues published changed between 2023 and 2025?
  • To what extent are respondents interested in acquiring another business in 2023?

Price: £995 per report.  For further details – and to order online – click here.

The Business & Workplace Supplies Industry To 2028 (2023)

Where is the business supplies market heading?

The answer to this deceptively simple question is becoming particularly complex, with demand for business and workplace supplies now subject to a dazzling array of disparate forces: stagnating and recovering economies; changing workforce sizes and characteristics; the rise (and fall?) of hybrid and agile working; the decline of desktop printing; the rise of the Internet; and ongoing digitalization.

All play their part in driving (or hampering!) market demand over the next few years. Add to that the current and future changes to product and supply chain being wrought by sustainability issues and it becomes abundantly clear that the business and workplace market is in a particular state of turmoil at present.

How can business supplies leaders obtain a clear picture of what is driving the market for each product category and how it will look in five years’ time?

“The Business & Workplace Supplies Industry To 2028”, a new report by Martin Wilde Associates (MWA) and OPI, provide these answers.

The first half of this 72 page planning resource book comprises 26 tables giving key data and commentary on demographic and other potential market driver data for four major end-use markets (USA, France, Germany and the UK):

    • Economic trends (ie GDP and inflation forecasts to 2028)
    • Population & labour force statistics (ie population, labour force and unemployment forecasts)
    • Company size & activity trends (ie businesses by number, size and activity)
    • Home working trends
    • Office space trends (ie office space supply and occupancy forecasts to 2028)
    • Office equipment trends
    • Internet & cloud usage trends
    • E-commerce trends
    • Sustainability trends

The second half of the report contains seven chapters, each dedicated to investigating how these drivers are driving a major product category – currently and in future – based on commentary from c20 senior sales executives in key industry companies in these regions:

  • Paper and paper-based stationery
  • Other traditional stationery
  • Ink & toner & printers
  • Office furniture
  • Office machines
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Catering supplies

Each chapter also identifies any other drivers affecting these product categories, and provides forecast tables predicting the growth – or decline – in demand for each of these categories in each country through to 2028, as well as the subcategories which are expected to outperform and underperform against overall category demand during that period.

Finally, the report provides a summary of these forecasts for each country, as well as an estimate of how the overall BP market will look in each country in 2028, based on all of these trends.

The report also highlights opportunities for potential new products and services in each category, as well as providing advice from industry practitioners on how to implement successful diversification in each sector.

The world around us is changing fast – and so is the business and workplace supplies industry. The Business & Workplace Supplies Industry To 2028 combines key demographic trends, economic forecasts and key insights from industry leaders in a unique and timely study that is essential reading for any strategic planner.

The report is available now for only £950.  To order your copy – click here.

US Business Supplies: Trends In Behavior 2022-3 (2022)

US Business Supplies: Trends In Behavior 2022-3 is a new research report that reveals exactly what US workplaces want today – and what they will require in future.

The way that Americans work has changed forever: companies all over the country have reduced staffing levels, moved all or in part to home working and reorganized (or even disposed of) some or all of their offices.

What does this mean for the US business supplies industry?

It is vital for all companies in the business supplies sector to have an in-depth insight into not only how US companies are now organized, what business supplies items they are buying and where they are buying them from, but also what buyers want from their suppliers – both now and in the future.

The objectives of the research were to provide answers to the following questions:

  1. How many full time equivalent (FTE) staff do respondents’ companies employ currently, and what will the forecast be for this in December 2023?
  2. What share of staff work totally in the office, totally at home, or in both locations currently and what will the forecast be for this in 2023?
  3. What is the average number of days being spent in the office by hybrid working staff currently and what will the forecast be for this in 2023?
  4. By how much are the total sales of respondents’ companies expected to change in 2022 (compared to 2021) and what is this change expected to be in 2023, compared to 2022?
  5. To what extent is the size of office space used by respondents’ companies expected to change over the next 12 months and what is the reason for any such change?
  6. Which business supplies product categories are respondents currently responsible for purchasing?
  7. What is respondents’ budgets for their spend on business supplies currently and by how much will this change in 2023?
  8. How frequently do respondents currently place an order for business supplies and what will the forecast be for this in 2023?
  9. What is the average value of respondents’ orders for business supplies currently and what will the forecast be for this in 2023?
  10. How many people do respondents buy business supplies for currently and how will this change in 2023?
  11. What percentage of spend on business supplies is for products to be used at home currently and what will the forecast be for this in 2023?
  12. What value share of respondents’ business supplies purchases are currently made online what will the forecast be for this in 2023?
  13. Which business supplies items are currently being purchased less than last year and which items are expected to be purchased less in 2023?
  14. Which business supplies items are currently being purchased more than last year and which items are expected to be purchased more in 2023?
  15. Which business supplies items are respondents purchasing for the first time currently, and which items do they expect to be buying for the first time in 2023?
  16. Which supplier types are currently being used to source each type of business supplies product purchased by respondents?
  17. Which suppliers that were previously being used by respondents in 2021 are no longer being used currently?
  18. Which current suppliers will no longer be used by respondents in 2023?
  19. Which new suppliers were added by respondents in 2022?
  20. Which new suppliers will be added by respondents in 2023?
  21. To what extent is there a preference either to consolidate suppliers or to use category specialists? What will be the preference for this in 2023?
  22. From where are home and hybrid workers currently obtaining their business supplies? How will this change in 2023?
  23. Do respondents currently require regular in person site visits or calls from business supplies suppliers? If so, how frequently? How will this requirement change in 2023?

Price: US$3,750. For further details – and to order online – click here.

Where To Now?: Growth Opportunities For Vendors In The UK Business Supplies Market (2020)

Many OP vendors serving the UK market are finding that not only is demand for their ‘traditional’ products in decline, but that many of the OP channels that they had historically relied upon to get these products to market are also shrinking.  As a result, many vendors are now actively looking for ‘new’ channels.

Based on research amongst key vendors serving the UK market, Where To Now? identifies and profiles the ‘new’ channels being used and considered by UK vendors, and offers over 40 profiles (and over 60 additional names) of the key companies in these channels.

The report provides answers to the following key questions:

  1. Identify the channels used by a sample of UK vendors in 2018, 2019 and 2020 (estimate).
  2. Report the share of these vendors’ sales that were accounted for by each channel in 2018, 2019 and 2020 (estimate).
  3. Report the overall trends in channel shifts in 2018-19 and 2019-20 (forecast).
  4. Report current perceptions of the ‘traditional’ OP channels.
  5. Profile each of the ‘new’ channels being used or considered by vendors, including:
    1. General perceptions of each channel
    2. Identities and profiles of the key players identified by respondents in each channel
    3. Identities of other key players in each channel

With the turbulence inflicted on the UK OP market by the COVID-19 crisis in early 2020 – including the demise of long-established OP channel distributors – there has never been a greater need for vendors to consider the widening downstream options available to them. Where To Now? is a sourcebook that looks to inspire vendors serving the UK market to identify and target the ‘new’ channels that are most aligned with their current and future business objectives.

Price: Only £950 until 31st October 2020; thereafter £1,200. For further details – and to order online – click here.

Boiling The Frog – Revisited: Young Office Worker Usage & Perceptions Of Office Products (2019)

“Boiling The Frog – Revisited” is an update to MWA’s groundbreaking 2012 ‘Boiling The Frog’ research study (see below), which looked at the behaviour and attitudes of young office workers in the US and UK whose usage of, and attitudes towards, traditional office products is often very different to that of their older colleagues.

This 2019 research study repeats the key questions of the original report – and shows that many of its trends have become more intensified – while also investigates new areas such as the use of Amazon and Amazon Business, digital engagement with OP suppliers, MPS systems, and preferences for products that improve working environments:

• Which OP items are regularly being used in the workplace and for working at home?
• Which products are being used more – or less – than in 2012?
• To what extent are product branding and product colour important?
• Do workers prefer to use eco-friendly products if there is no price difference?
• To what extent are documents printed out? Under what circumstances?
• Do workers now share a printer? How has sharing a printer affected their usage?
• Are printer cartridges being sourced under a MPS contract?
• To what extent are documents filed/stored? Under what circumstances?
• What written communication methods are used formally and informally to contact those outside a worker’s company?
• What social networking sites are used for work?
• How important is it that an employer offers healthy snacks, ‘Barista-style’ coffee, sit/stand workstations, perch seating, monitor arms/risers, ergonomic mice/keyboards, wrist rest pads, multiple screens, social spaces/breakout areas, office plants, natural lighting and the latest technology products?
• Where are hot drinks sourced from at work?
• What methods do workers use to select products? Are online product reviews important to their decision?
• Do workers have the opportunity to buy products? If so, where from?
• Is Amazon being used as a source of OP? If so, does the worker use their own Amazon Prime account?
• What aspects of a supplier’s digital content and web site most engage these workers?
• How will the use of OP change in the next five years?

As a result, this c200 page research report is essential reading for all manufacturers and distributors of office products.

Price: £2,950.  Further details – and online ordering – are available at the Boiling The Frog – Revisited Web Page

Piranha Business: Investigating The Appeal Of Amazon Business (2017)

Amazon originally launched Amazon Business in the USA in the spring of 2015 as a B2B portal offering “hundreds of millions” of products, business-only pricing on select items, quantity discounts, corporate credit, free two-day shipping on eligible items and orders above $49 and multi-user business account administration allowing integration with third-party procurement solutions. Since then, Amazon has been rolling out this model in other countries and – as a result – it is vital that OP suppliers across the world get an up-to-date understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, issues and opportunities being presented by Amazon Business.

This new c200 page in-depth survey report investigates the profile, behaviour, needs and attitudes of 400 US business customers who had bought any type of business supplies from Amazon Business in the last 12 months and answers 20 key questions:

  • What is the demographic profile of Amazon Business customers?
  • What business supplies product categories do they buy overall, and what product categories do they buy from Amazon Business?
  • What share of their overall business supplies do they now buy from Amazon Business, and is this increasing?
  • Where did respondents previously buy the business supplies product categories that they now buy from Amazon Business?
  • Which other types of office products supplier do respondents still use?
  • When did respondents first start to buy business supplies from Amazon Business? Had they previously used Amazon or AmazonSupply?
  • Why have respondents chosen to buy from Amazon Business, and what are the perceived advantages and disadvantages of doing so?
  • How important is price to respondents, what kind of pricing do they want and what is their perception of the ongoing competitiveness of Amazon Business’s pricing?
  • What do respondents think about the quality of Amazon Business’s customer and after-sales service?
  • How important are commercial visits by suppliers to respondents?
  • How frequently do respondents place an order with Amazon Business and what is their average order value?
  • How do respondents place an order with Amazon Business and how effective is the supplier’s ability to integrate with their e-procurement system?
  • What kind of delivery service do respondents require from Amazon Business? How important is ‘free delivery’ and how often do they qualify for it?
  • Are respondents happy to buy from third party suppliers via Amazon Business and to receive their order in several separate consignments?
  • How important to respondents is the use of a local supplier, and do they see buying from Amazon Business as having any negative social impact?
  • What is respondents’ perception of the value of the ‘exclusive discounts’ and promotions that Amazon Business offers?
  • What is respondents’ perception of the ‘Multi User Accounts’ system and ‘Business Analytics’ offered by Amazon Business?
  • What are their usage and perceptions of the Amazon Basics brand against manufacturer brands and other own brands? Are there any product categories in which they would not like to buy this brand?
  • How do respondents search for product and how easy is it for them to find required products on the Amazon Business site?
  • What is the respondents’ anticipated future use of Amazon Business? Would they ever go back to using a conventional OP supplier and – if so – what would persuade them to do so?

Piranha Business: Investigating The Appeal Of Amazon Business” is an essential tool for understanding what is happening right now in the business supplies market place, where it is going in future and what action needs to be taken by vendors and resellers.

Price: $3,750.  Further details are available from

The Phoenix Report: Is The Dealer Channel Rising Again? (2016)

While it is well known that the independent dealer channel has been under severe pressure in the US and UK since the early 1990s, it might seem that its traditional major competitors – the international resellers – are now no longer enjoying spectacular growth, while the emergence of online trading and the opening of the FM supplies market have provided new opportunities for the traditional dealer to change and flourish. What, then, is the current state of the independent dealer base?Are dealers growing and profitable now? What is their product and sales channel focus? How are they buying, selling and stocking product? Is the dealer channel now something that vendors should reassess?

‘The Phoenix Report’ is designed to assist BP vendors, wholesalers, dealers and dealer groups in assessing the current and future health of the independent dealer channel so as to optimise their marketing Strategies. The study comprises two reports, each featuring the results of in-depth interviews with 200 OP dealers in the US and 155 in the UK (as well as six in-depth telephone interviews with major OP wholesalers and dealer groups in each country), addressing the following questions:

  • 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, JanSan, other FM supplies, print,other) 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 businesses are they looking to acquire?
  • Do dealers have a clearly defined exit strategy?

Price: £1,900/$2,850 per report.       Further details are available in the Phoenix Brochure.

The Spider Report: How And Why Business Products Are Bought On The Web (2015)

There is no doubt that online purchasing is an established and major part of the BP industry, but little is widely known about the needs and requirements of these online purchasers. For example:

  • Why do business products (BP) purchasers buy these items online?
  • What are the disadvantages of buying BP online?
  • Which BP items are the most likely to be purchased online?
  • What share of core BP items is currently being purchased online? What is this share expected to be in 2016?
  • What is the average value of an online BP order?
  • Which online suppliers are used to purchase major BP categories?
  • Has the move to online purchasing widened the number of BP suppliers being used?
  • How did purchasers hear about their current online suppliers?
  • What are the key factors that drive the selection of an online supplier?
  • For what reasons are online purchases abandoned or online suppliers discarded?
  • What do buyers want from their online supplier that they are not getting already?
  • How do buyers search for product online?
  • Which product attributes are used when searching for major BP categories?
  • What are the main problems encountered when searching for products online?
  • How important are online product descriptions, multiple pictures, videos and user reviews?
  • Do buyers order online using a PC, tablet or smartphone?
  • What spend or credit limits are imposed on online purchases?
  • Are manufacturer brands more important to online buyers?
  • How important is free delivery and what minimum spend is acceptable in order to access free delivery?

All of these key questions – and more – are addressed in ‘The Spider Report’, which comprises two reports, each featuring the results of 400 interviews with online B2B end-user BP buyers carried out in the UK and US in the autumn of 2015.

Price: £2,500/$3,750 per country report.  Further details are available in the Spider Brochure.

Swimming With Piranhas: OP Purchasing From Amazon (2014)

There is no doubt that Amazon – as well as other broad line e-commerce specialists such as eBay – will be a major factor in the future of the OP industry.  However, little is known about their current and potential B2B customer base for office products.  For example:

  • What types of businesses have bought OP from Amazon in the last 12 months?
  • What kinds of products – and what share of end-users’ total OP purchases – are currently being purchased via Amazon?
  • What are the perceived benefits and disbenefits of buying OP from Amazon?
  • What are the perceptions of service from Amazon, compared to other major national OP resellers?
  • What are the perceptions of the Amazon Basics brand?
  • To what extent is Amazon used for making price comparisons with offline resellers?
  • Which OP supply channels have lost out to Amazon?
  • Do customers navigate directly to Amazon or do they just search for products online and find themselves at Amazon?
  • Once at the Amazon site, do customers prefer to buy from Amazon or from an Amazon Marketplace seller?
  • How will OP sourcing from Amazon change in future?

All of these key questions – and others – are addressed in ‘Swimming With Piranha’, which comprises three reports, each featuring the results of 400 interviews with B2B end-user OP buyers carried out in ther UK, Germany and the US.

Price: £2,200/$3,750 per country report.  Further details are available in the Piranha Brochure.

Mountain Or Molehill?: A Study Of Demand For FM Supplies In The US & UK (2013)

With demand for ‘traditional’ office products (OP) in structural value decline over recent years, OP resellers have increasingly turned to other product areas. One of the main sectors has been FM supplies – comprising ‘Janitorial/Sanitorial/Breakroom/Industrial/Health & Safety/Mailroom supplies’. Certainly, OP resellers have seen significant growth in FM’s share of their total sales, but despite this growth, the OP industry still accounts for a very small share of the overall FM supplies market. 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.

‘Mountain or Molehill?’ consists of two reports, each based on research carried out amongst B2B purchasers of FM supplies in the US and UK, investigating the products, sources and services required in this growing category.

Price: £2,000/$3,100 per country report.  Further details are available in the Mountain Or Molehill Brochure.

Boiling The Frog: Young Office Worker Usage & Perceptions Of Office Products (2012)

“Boiling The Frog: The OP Industry’s Guide To Young Office Workers” is a major research report looking at the behaviour and attitudes of young office workers – those under 35 – whose usage of, and attitudes towards, traditional office products is likely to be very different to that of their older colleagues. We believe that the presence of these young workers is already being felt and reflected in changes in OP demand across the world, and these trends will continue to develop gradually year-by-year as young workers represent an ever increasing proportion of the office workforce. As a result, this research report is essential reading for all manufacturers and distributors of office products.

The research comprises two groundbreaking reports investigating the use of and attitudes towards traditional OP amongst young office workers in the UK and US.

Price: £2,495/$3,745 per country report.  Further details are available in the Boiling The Frog Brochure.