The term “office supplies” is a generic term that encompasses all products that are used in the office by businesses and other types of organizations. These products include paperclips, staples, pens and pencils, and paper. Larger, more expensive products, such as computers, printers, fax machines, photocopiers, and cash registers, are also included in the classification of “office supplies.” Also included are office furniture, such as cubicles and desks.
Office supplies are the single largest, as well as the most important expense in most businesses. This is the reason why the office supply industry is a $225 billion industry and is still growing. The revenue of some of the largest retail distributors of office supplies can exceed $13 billion a year.
Today most office supply companies have also expanded into providing services related to the business, such as acting as copy centers, and creating products such as business cards and personalized business stationary. These services are also adding to the overall value of this industry.
For businesses, the cost of office supplies is a very large part of their budget. The initial cost will be the largest part of their business. They will need to first furnish their offices, as well as buy computers, printers, and fax machines. These purchases alone are a very large investment that can exceed as much as $20,000, depending on the size of the office.
Alone, the cost of paperclips, staples, paper, pens, and pencils do not cost very much. However, the large number of these products required to run a business will add up.
Typically, anything used in an office is considered an “office supply.” Although not widely recognized, cleaning supplies used in the office can also be classified as an office supply. Products used to clean the computers, the floors, and even the restrooms can also be called an office supply.