It’s certainly been another eventful year in the office supplies industry – here are just some of our 2019 highlights.
As we get closer to Christmas and as many businesses in the office supplies sector start to wind down their operations for the festive break, we thought we’d provide a look back at some 2019 highlights from the office world.
It’s certainly been an eventful one with major acquisitions being formed, new products being launched, some unfortunate business closures and along with a heap of industry specific events and gatherings.
Here are just a few of our 2019 highlights, starting in January all the way up to December.
Office Supplies Blog’s 2019 Highlights
We begin our 2019 highlights and the year with quite a shock, with the announcement being made that CEO of SPOT Group at the time, Jeff Whiteway, was making plans to stand down from his role.
Whiteway had spent over 30 years with the business and had become an influential figure in developing the OfficeTeam business.
It wouldn’t be until later in the month (January 31st) until a new CEO of the firm was announced, that being Steve Horne.
Moving into February, the Post Office Shop received a great accolade when it received an official ranking in the Top 150 Internet Retailers following IRUK’s report.
The ranking is considered to be a huge achievement for both the Post Office and the Post Office Shop after making a gradual transition over the past few years into the office products and business supplies market.
Now challenging the likes of Staples and Viking when it comes to market share, the Post Office Shop recorded an overall rate of growth of 32% in 2018, with this trend expected to continue going forwards.
March – Meet the ESCALA Pen
In what could be one of our more popular articles based on the introduction of a new office product, we took a closer look at the ESCALA Pen in March.
This unique piece of stationery certainly caught our eye upon reading more about it on Dezeen, with the ESCALA Pen not only branding a sophisticated name but also appearing to be an extremely slick and useful rule and pen combination tool.
Unfortunately, this innovative piece of stationery still isn’t available for general purchase, but its creators, Ensso, are still hoping people will pledge to their Kickstarter page so that the product can be mass produced and sold in the mass market.
If you have visited the blog over the past few years, you will probably have seen that we are always thrilled to cover the goings on when it comes to National Stationery Week and 2019 was certainly no different.
Growing in size and popularity each year, National Stationery Week allows businesses in the office and business supplies sector to get creative and help to promote the importance of stationery in today’s often digitally focused world.
It was fantastic as always to leading companies such as VOW Wholesale getting involved with the spirit of the event through regular social media activity and various stationery themed promotions, and as always, the National Stationery Week team were hard at work helping to spread their love of stationery and handwriting which was greatly received by all.
It would be no exaggeration in saying that both April and May this year were dominated by the stationery category, with the announcement of the winners of the 2019 Stationery Awards running alongside National Stationery Week.
Becoming a regular benchmark in helping to discover fresh and exciting brands and businesses making applying their craft in the stationery industry, the awards recognise those who continually promote good practice in the sector.
New to this year were two categories to help showcase the efforts of stationery retailers and innovation in stationery design, with awards being given to both familiar and fresh new faces in the office supplies world.
One trend that would regularly appear throughout the year was flexible working, so it wasn’t a surprise for us in June to discover that there had been a major increase in the amount of people working from home during the past decade.
Analysis figures from TUC revealed that there are now nearly more than 374,000 more employees that are working from home when compared to 10 years ago – equaling an increase of 27.7%.
Other important stats were featured in the results of the study such as an estimated 4 million workers in the UK commenting that they would like to be given the option to complete tasks outside of the office for a few times each week, giving much food for thought for employers and major businesses.
We were very surprised to learn in July of a new report from leading eCommerce agency Wunderman Thompson Commerce, which suggested that Amazon was at the risk of losing much of its younger customer base.
With key figures and statistics giving further insight into younger demographic purchasing habits, there were some alarming points raised for the ecommerce giant pertaining to the type of experience they expect when shopping online and the importance of brand ethics when making purchasing decisions.
Quoting comments made in Which? magazine, we also asked if this was perhaps a chance for many retailers and resellers in the office supplies industry to step up their eCommerce game in order to compete and make their mark on the current market.
August would mark the first of several major acquisitions to be made in the office supplies industry that we were able to cover.
Halfway through the month, it was announced that writing instruments manufacturer Manuscript Pen Company had successfully acquired the stationery distributor, Lime Art & Stationery and its subsidiaries based in the UK.
Covering the details of the acquisition on their website, Manuscript went on the say that the purchase of Lime Art & Stationery would give it “more diversity and strength in the domestic market” and would be a “key step in the growth plans of Manuscript as a brand and the company as a whole”.
It was another busy year for VOW Wholesale, with the registration for their ever popular and successful Green Light industry event opening early on into September this year.
Regarded as one of the largest events of its type within the dealer channel, VOW’s Green Light 2019 event set the initial aim of hosting over 800 delegates, comprising of both business owners and sales teams, with discussions and featured talks being held over the course of the day based on the latest market trends and growth opportunities.
The event officially then took place on Thursday 5th of December, with Channel Info detailing the winners of several awards which are traditionally given out to suppliers and dealers at Green Light each year such as Red Venture Dealer, Gold Venture Award, Newcomer Award and Account Manager of the Year.
There can be no mistaking that the sector was dominated by the powerful and thought-provoking ergonomics campaign launched by Fellowes in October.
The campaign, which introduced us to Emma – The Office Worker of the Future, warned us of the frightening and gruesome future that could lay ahead for office workers around the world should the subject of correct and efficient ergonomics not be taken more seriously.
Some additional scary insights were provided to us, with statistics relating to the average time we sit at our desks each day, our reliance on medication in order to deal with ergonomic difficulties and that state of current worker health being pushed to the forefront, followed by a detailed report and accompanying media to help drive the hard truths home.
November – Will Xerox Takeover HP?
November provided us with a true battle of two major computing giants in both HP and Xerox, with the rumor mill turning in speculation that Xerox were ready to launch an ambitious takeover bid for HP.
Fiction turned to fact as we would learn that an official approach had been made via news from the Wall Street Journal, featuring comments from representatives at HP who confirmed that they had received formal documents about a potential business combination.
The plot would thicken just one week later however, as the deal was unanimously rejected by HP, with us posing the question of what exactly would happen next.
Since that point, there have been several developments, including Xerox taking the matter to HP’s official board of shareholders as the talks and now seemingly, their feud, could continue to rage on into the new year.
It was time to close out the year with the final of our 2019 highlights and another huge acquisition made in the office supplies and business products sector in December, with OPI detailing that the EVO Group of Companies would be adding the leading paper rolls manufacturer, Premier Vanguard, into their business operations.
Both EVO Group’s CEO Steve Haworth and current co-directors of Premier Vanguard, John Clemie and Dominic De Luca, were thrilled at the brand new acquisition deal, with Haworth expressing that “the acquisition is a good fit” with EVO’s strategy and “will bring a wealth of opportunities to both EVO and Premier Vanguard.”
One of the advisors on the acquisition and La Salle Corporate partner, Matt Dillon, added his congratulations to both companies on the join up by wishing them “all the best in the future” and “every success” going forwards.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Office Supplies Blog
We really hope you have enjoyed reading our articles on the blog this year and looking back at some of the pivotal moments that took place in the office supplies industry throughout the course of the year with these 2019 highlights.
It has certainly been another busy year for the sector and we are looking forward to what 2020 will bring.
From us here at Office Supplies Blog, we would like to express a huge thank you for all your support this year and we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.