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The U.S. Cut Size Paper Market: Distribution Channels


While paper has achieved a growth rate of less than 5% in revenue and less than 2% in volume, it remains essential to document production. Companies of all sizes, as well as individual consumers, rely on paper as an important means of communication. Over time, distribution channels like office supply superstores and their sister divisions, contract stationers, have steadily increased their paper distribution roles. Meanwhile, better established channels like paper merchants are continuing their dominance by efficiently and effectively selling paper.

At the other end of the spectrum, printer dealers were never as successful as other paper distribution channels, and have now become virtually non-existent. Various other channels have also gradually exited the cut size paper market, including office machine dealers, forms distributors and manufacturers, and small storefronts. Although these channels may sell some cut size paper, it is on a very limited basis. Up-and-coming channels include the Internet, computer superstores, mass merchandisers, and commercial and quick printers. All channels that wish to be successful in the paper market must learn to distribute their paper products efficiently and economically.

InfoTrends new forecast, U.S. Cut Size Paper Market Distribution Channels Forecast: 2005-2010, provides a five year forecast and considers how paper has evolved over the past 15 years in terms of channel availability and overall growth (revenue and tons). The forecast also examines distribution channels that are no longer strong for paper and the channels that will become important in the future.

Channel Overview

General merchandise stores and mass merchandisers will increase the amount of paper that they sell due to the sheer number of stores and the convenience of being able to purchase paper along with other goods.

Figure 1: All Cut Size Tons – 1990-2010

The Internet, however, is the only channel expected to show double-digit growth in terms of cut size tons distribution between 2005 and 2010. In 2010, 73% of all cut size tons will be sold through non-retail channels. This is largely because supply chain management is an area of proficiency for non-retail channels, especially when it comes to delivering truckloads and pallets of paper.

Quick printers have also emerged as a source of cut size paper. As a complement to their traditional business, quick printers including FedEx/Kinkos are emphasizing their ability to capture supplies business at retail and on-line due to their number of store locations and access to product. Staples is also opening stand-alone quick printer locations that stock a limited number of office products SKUs including paper.

The preceding is an excerpt from InfoTrends’ report entitled “U.S. Cut Size Paper Market Distribution Channels Forecast: 2005-2010.” The complete document is available immediately. To learn more about the report or to make a purchase, visit our  online store or contact Nicole Shown at +1 , ext. 207 or .

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