Back-to-school season means parents are headed back to stores. New data from market research firm The NPD Group forecasts that revenue for the US office supplies industry will grow by 8% this year compared to 2020, which was affected by the uncertainty around kids returning to classrooms.
Overall, NPD expects sales will increase by 12% this year compared to the 2020 back-to-school season, and be flat compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 season.
For the five weeks ending August 7, sales for back-to-school items–including notebooks, colored pencil sets and crayons—were up 21% compared to the same period in 2020. Sales for kindergarten to grade six supplies for that same period were up 50% year over year. According to NPD, some of this growth is due to pandemic precautions like children being told not to share supplies. In fact, teachers reported they expect 73% of students will bring their own crayons to school in 2021, compared to 49% in previous years.
Looking ahead to 2022 and 2023, NPD forecasts that revenue in the office supplies industry will drop 2% and 1%, respectively. These declines will be a result of the acceleration of digital product usage in offices and classrooms in response to the pandemic.