Companies in this industry sell a wide range of office supplies and equipment to businesses and consumers and may perform some business-related services. Major companies include Office Depot and Staples (both based in the US), Pelikan 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, pricing, 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 US industry is highly concentrated: the four largest companies account for about 85% of industry revenue.
Major product categories include computer hardware, software ,and supplies (22% of US industry revenue); office, school, and packaging supplies (19%); office paper (12%); stationery (9%); and furniture (6%). Larger office supply retailers may also offer technology assistance and copy and printing services.