Port Washington, NY, December 8, 2021 – With only a few weeks remaining in 2021, it is a time to reflect and begin to look forward for many. This year was one of strong gains for the U.S. office supplies industry and NPD expects revenues will finish the year 8% higher than 2020 (excluding janitorial and breakroom supplies). As we head into 2022, sales are expected to soften, falling by 1%, but will remain above 2019 pre-pandemic levels, according to The NPD Group.
Source: The NPD Group/ Retail Tracking Service & Future of Office Supplies*
NPD’s latest Future of Office Supplies forecast reveals that the first half 2022 will be particularly challenging, as the Easter holiday shifts from the first quarter (Q1) to the second quarter (Q2) and the mini-back-to-school seasons that took place during the first half of 2021 return to a more typical schedule. The result will be a 5% revenue decline in Q1 2022, as sales of several creative, gifting, and crafting categories shift to Q2 thanks to the Easter holiday. Despite this influx of holiday spending for Q2, sales are expected to be flat due to the lack of the mini-back-to-school buying seasons.
With the back-to-school season in the third quarter (Q3) and the holiday season in the fourth quarter (Q4), industry revenue in the second half of 2022 is anticipated to see slight growth. In 2021, Q3 sales (July 4, 2021 – Oct. 2, 2021) were up 13% from 2020, and Q4 year-to-date sales grew 9% (Oct. 3, 2021 – Nov. 20, 2021). These revenue gains are being caused in part by increasing average sales prices due to various supply chain challenges, purchases of new products or upgrades to new models, and growing consumer spending in higher price point categories and larger packs of office supplies items.
“We expect 2022 will bring continued innovation related to work, learn, and play, as well as an increased focus on pricing strategies and promotional mix for manufacturers and retailers in the industry,” said Leen Nsouli, executive director and office supplies industry analyst for NPD. “Consumers are adapting to an evolving normal and the office and school supplies industry will need to meet consumers where they are now and where they are going next.”