For many the pandemic has altered the way we work, the way we learn, and the way we shop. As has been the case in retail, the commercial office supplies and B2B tech channel has not been immune to the societal aftershocks brought on by COVID-19. With school and office closings hitting the U.S. in March, commercial office supplies and the B2B technology channel took the hardest hits in April and May, respectively, as lockdowns became more widespread and consumers purchased supplies from retailers.

Commercial office supplies and B2B tech sales began to show improvement in May and June, with the declines softening each month since then, as businesses, offices and schools began preparations to reopen. August saw more recovery versus prior months, with sales down -26% over August 2019 in commercial office supplies and -2% for the same period in B2B technology. While things are beginning to turnaround, innovation will be key. Below Leen Nsouli, NPD’s office supplies analyst, and Mike Crosby, NPD’s B2B technology analyst, each share their unique perspectives on what’s ahead.

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