NPD recognizes 2021’s top industry performers across key office supplies categories at retail

Port Washington, NY, March 1, 2022 – In 2021, the U.S. office supplies industry generated $14.5 billion in sales, up 11% year-over-year and 12% vs. 2019, according to The NPD Group (excluding janitorial and breakroom sales). This was a result of renewed momentum in categories that saw challenges in 2020, as well as rising average sales prices (ASPs).

With remote learning and working impacting sales in 2020, the writing instruments and office paper categories had strong revenue gains year-over-year in 2021 up 15% and 14%, respectively. The writing instruments category was also up 9% compared to 2019, while office paper category sales were flat. Categories that saw continued gains were storage products, up 22%, and art and crafting categories with sales up 2% year-over-year and 32% vs. 2019.

In 2021, the back-to-school season (July- Sept.) saw 14% revenue growth, while the rest of the year experienced 10% growth (Jan. – June and Oct. – Dec.). The higher back-to-school season gains were driven by introductions of new products and innovations, a shift in product mix being sold as the work-from-home and hybrid consumer segment continued to purchase products at retail during the year, and a decrease in units sold on promotion during the season. In fact, according to NPD’s Price and Discount Trends data, during the back-to-school season (Q3) 36% of all units sold were on promotion, down 3 points vs. Q3 2020. During the same timeframe, ASPs were up 19% year-over-year, while seeing an increase of 8% during the rest of the year.

“Last year was one of strong growth for the industry as many categories rebounded following pandemic-related challenges,” said Leen Nsouli, executive director and office supplies industry analyst for NPD. “We expect to see some sales normalization in 2022 and continued impact from pricing, especially in the spring and as we near the summer and back-to-school season, which will help boost sales despite anticipated unit decline in the industry.”

2021 Top Performers

Below are the overall, top performing brands of 2021 across key office supplies categories, based on U.S. growth in market share over the previous year, according to NPD’s Retail Tracking Service. 

Top U.S. Market Share Increase in 2021

Coloring & ArtCricut
Dated ProductsBlue Sky
Mailing & ShippingDuck
Office PaperFive Star
Specialty TapeGorilla Glue
Writing InstrumentsSharpie

Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service/Jan.- Dec. 2021

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