2020 has been one of the most unusual years on recent record, but for the office supplies industry, there were still some big news stories to come out of it. Here is our 2020 overview.
The countdown to Christmas has begun and with it, one final push from businesses to make deliveries in time for Christmas and to wrap up any loose ends until after New Year.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were some huge shifts within the office supplies industry landscape including some unfortunate closures, business transitions and a huge spike in home and remote working.
Here are some of the main stories we covered this year that we thought we would include in this 2020 overview.
Office Supplies Blog’s 2020 Overview
January – March
Pilot Pintor Named 2019 Craft Product of the Year
We began 2020’s coverage on the blog with the announcement of an award being attributed to Pilot in the 2019 Best of Crafts Awards.
The stationery manufacturer capped off an impressive year last year after their Pilot Pintor markers were named the 2019 Craft Product of the Year.
Speaking after the announcement of Pilot’s award win was made, Stuart Baker, Marketing Manager for Pilot, expressed:
“We are absolutely thrilled that our Pintor markers have won the craft product of the year award as this was an incredibly competitive category.
We were convinced that when we launched Pintor back in 2018 that we had an exciting new product and to pick up this award confirms that and demonstrates we have class-leading products in the arts and crafts category.”
Managing Director of Durable Steps Down
February marked the end of an era at manufacturing organization Durable, after we learned that Managing Director, Horst- Werner Maier-Hunke, would step down and retire from his role at the company.
The announcement meant that a tenure of 40 years leading Durable had come to an end for Maier-Hunke, who during his time at the organization, turned it into a €100 million (approx. £85 million) valued business.
His hard work and dedication were rewarded and marked with the Lifetime Achievement Award during the first ever EOPA Awards in 2002.
Rolf Schifferens, a former board member of Faber-Castell and the Managing Director of the Faber-Castell Vetrieb subsidiary, was selected as Maier-Hunke’s successor and became the new Managing Director of Durable after a short transitional period.
Traditional Stationery Products Demand Surges During Coronavirus Outbreak
In the first of many articles that covered the Coronavirus outbreak, we reported in March that consumer demand for traditional stationery products was surging.
This was due in part to much of the UK adapting to working from home and the rise of homeschooling when schools were forced to close their doors.
Business products resellers such as VOW Wholesale were continuing to supply stationery items such as pens, notebooks, pencils and other organisational items, with delivery of items mainly unaffected by conditions surrounding the pandemic.
At the same time, the Royal Mail reported that they had experienced a strong increase in demand for their parcel business during the month because of the increased amount of orders being placed online.
August – October
MyPostShop Launches – Extends Support to Former Post Office Shop Customers
We returned from a short break in August to bring you the exciting announcement of the MyPostShop website being launched, after Post Office confirmed it had reached a decision to step back from direct e-commerce and close down Post Office Shop.
VOW Retail ensured that support would continue for any former Post Office Shop Customers by allowing users to sign into their previous accounts made with the Post Office Shop on the new MyPostShop website in order to access copy invoice, parcel tracking and proof of deliveries.
Darren Mack, the Group Ecommerce Director for the EVO Group of Companies, commented at the time of the launch, saying:
“We have been in partnership with Post Office for a number of years and we will continue to support them and their customers going forwards.
We understand the decision they have taken and fully respect the desire of the Post Office to move away from this online aspect of their business.
The website had gained many thousands of users over the years and it is really important that we continue to support the needs of the customers with contact centre support or online self-serve where appropriate.
That is why we have launched this new site, to allow people to continue to get the support function they need.”
Fellowes Named 2019 BPGI Supplier of the Year
We continue our 2020 overview with another belated award was given in September, this time to the office and technology accessories manufacturer Fellowes, who were named as winners of the BPGI Supplier of the Year for 2019.
BPGI, a membership group for the business products industry, select their Supplier of the Year annually through a point scoring mechanism, which uses several key factors to help determine a vendor’s level of support.
The award could only be announced and provided to Fellowes later in the year due to COVID-19 restrictions in the country, with Fellowes’ Vice President of Central Europe & EU Marketing, James Webb, thanking BPGI for their support and commented:
“It’s nice to be recognized and it’s also good to see our performance is reflected in the numbers – particularly in the current difficult climate, it’s even more of an honour.
On behalf of everyone at Fellowes Brands, I would like to thank BPGI and its members for the support of the Fellowes product range over the past few years.”
Stationers Hall to Go Under Redevelopment
One of London’s most historic and prestigious halls was given the green light to undergo new changes in October as we reported that Stationers Hall was to begin a new £7.5 million redevelopment project heading into early 2022.
Redevelopment plans for the building were in talks since 2015 by the Stationers Company, who with the backing of History England, will transform the facilities with several additions and changes.
These include a second entrance, the inclusion of a lift to the Livery Hall and other public access rooms and improved air-cooling facilities throughout the building itself.
Commenting further on the project, Master of the Stationers Company, Right Reverend Dr. Stephen Platten expressed:
“This landmark project will transform Stationers’ Hall by making it significantly more accessible, comfortable and safe.
These three benefits will have a major impact on the future of our hall, making it truly fit for purpose in the 21st century.”
November – December
OPI European Forum 2020 Recap
For the very first time in the history of the event, OPI European Forum 2020 took place in a virtual setting and was presented to attendees in an alternative format than previous years due to COVID-19 restrictions.
While the event still took place over a two-day period (17th – 18th November), the entirety of the panels and presentations were held over video conference calls, with almost 250 industry executives and key figures taking part and watching on from over 20 different time zones and locations.
Both days featured introductory addresses followed by panel addresses on a variety of topics including key changes and oppositions in the industry experienced in 2020, developing as a modern reseller, the post-COVID workplace, the rise of home working and more.
Providing conditions improve, it’s expected that next year’s event will once again take place in physical surroundings for industry leaders to attend in person, but feedback following this year’s offering has been hugely positive.
BIC Acquire Rocketbook
We conclude our 2020 overview with our most recent piece of coverage on the blog, we revealed that stationery giant BIC had reached an agreement to acquire Rocketbook, one of the leading smart and reusable notebook brands in the United States.
The deal will see BIC take up Rocketbook on a 100% ownership basis, which will give them full control of the Rocketbook brand and its range of products going forwards.
Rocketbook and its range of products has become a valuable commodity since being founded in 2014 by Joe Lemay and Jake Epstein, achieving almost $32 million (approx. £23.9 million) net sales in 2020.
In a recent press release, Chief Executive Officer at BIC, Gonzalve Bich, commented:
“At BIC, we are focused on reimaging everyday essentials and introducing new products that enhance people’s lives.
This acquisition will solve a major challenge for many stationery consumers, providing a way to write that can be easily stored and shared in a quick, efficient, and environmentally conscious manner.
It allows us to our consumer offering and accelerate our progress toward more innovative and sustainable solutions.”
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Office Supplies Blog
We hope you have enjoyed reading our content covered on the blog this year and looking back at this 2020 overview of the key news that broke from within the office supplies industry throughout the course of the year.
It has been an unpredictable year for many, but we are looking forward to what 2021 will bring.
From us here at Office Supplies Blog, we’d like to express a huge thank you your support this year and we truly do wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.