Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Office Supplies Update - Summer 2021

Ethan Chernofsky
August 26, 2021
Office Supplies Update - Summer 2021

As the pandemic’s retail impact was initially being felt, there were some retailers and segments that were better positioned than others, and some that actually looked better positioned than ever.

Home Improvement leaders not only saw the benefit of strong alignment with key trends, but essential retail status early in the pandemic provided a unique opportunity for exceptional growth. Grocery and off-price retail were well-positioned sectors that managed to take full advantage of this opportunity. The result was a combination of relative strength during the pandemic and extended strength as the recovery took shape. 

Yet, one sector that seems to have missed out on a big opportunity is the office supplies sector.

The (Missed) Opportunity

As consumers were making their way to home improvement chains across the country, the work-from-home trend offered a powerful opportunity to reinvigorate a challenged office supply ecosystem. The rise of Amazon and other eCommerce competitors, and a struggle to clearly differentiate against retail giants like Walmart and Target, limited the success of players like Office Depot and Staples. 

Yet, there were signs that the office supply leaders were trying to take advantage of the opportunity. 2021 showed a consistent decrease in monthly visit gaps compared to 2019 with June visits to Staples down just 3.1% and Office Depot visits down just 9.0% - the best marks in 2021 for both chains. But July marked a step back as visit gaps increased. 

While a certain degree of up and down was to be expected in any sector, the increasing visits gaps are coming during the office supply sector’s critical Back to School period – and the gaps only increased as the season continued. Visits the weeks beginning August 2nd and 9th were down an average of 23.4% for Office Depot and 19.9% for Staples compared to the equivalent weeks in 2019. 

Meanwhile, brands like Target and Walmart are seeing significant growth compared to their equally strong 2019 Back-to-School seasons. 

The Silver Lining

Yet, there are still reasons for optimism. Though visit gaps compared to 2019 increased in July and will likely grow again significantly in August, normal seasonality has remained. Both chains are seeing peaks in July and August relative to the rest of the year, indicating that many consumers still recognize these two players as a key piece of the Back-to-School and office puzzle. 

There’s also the staying power of work from home that may contribute to demand. Whether it is a Geek Squad-esque approach modeled on Best Buy or a model that brings a home improvement style lens to the home office with a combination of business focused and DIY elements, there’s still a lingering demand.

Will Staples or Office Depot make the most of the current opportunity? 

Visit to find out.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023 Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023
Blockbusters Drive Movie Theater Comeback
Crocs and Boot Barn: Shoe-Ins for Success
McDonald’s and Chipotle's Winning Recipe
The State Of Steak: Checking in With Texas Roadhouse
Pleasant Pastimes: Pickleball Potential Proves Potent
Who’s Driving Downtown Manhattan’s Weekend Revival?
Diving into Downtown Manhattan Foot Traffic Trends
Rite Aid: Rightsizing Right
Major League Soccer: Its Die-Hard and Casual Fans
The Anchor Recap: September 2023 Office Index: September 2023 Recap
Placer Mall Index Recap: September 2023
September White Paper Recap
The Consumer Habits of College Students
JCPenney: Rightsizing and Revitalizing
Pent-Up Demand Ahead of October Sales Events
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023 Office Index: August 2023 Recap Mall Index: August 2023 Recap