Companies in this industry sell a wide range of office supplies to businesses and consumers and may perform some business-related services. Major companies based in the US include Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples. Large international office supply companies include Herlitz and Otto Office (both based in Germany), Lyreco and Manutan International (both in France), Officeworks (Australia), and Ryman (UK).
Demand is driven by the level of business activity. The profitability of individual companies depends on effective merchandising and an efficient distribution model. Large companies have economies of scale in purchasing and the ability to stock wider ranges of products. Small companies can compete by providing superior customer service and by offering specialty items.
The industry's major products include computer hardware, software and supplies (27 percent), office paper (14 percent), stationery (12 percent) and furniture (8 percent). Many larger office supplies retailers also offer technology assistance and copy and printing services.