E-Commerce Is on the Rise, but Will It Remain When the Pandemic Ends?

An important new insight for all printer, supplies, and paper brands



Deborah Hawkins


No one needs to be told that online purchasing increased during the pandemic, but Keypoint Intelligence’s latest Multi-Client Study, A4 Hardware and Supplies in the E-Commerce Channel, looks much deeper at future “stickiness” for many customer groups.


This was a multi-faceted study surveying consumers and small business customers, as well as a multi-regional study spanning the US and the European markets. Fielded online in February 2022, this study offers valuable insights for online purchasing patterns and experiences.


Amazon Leads Online Printer Purchases

For printer hardware, Amazon is clearly the channel of choice for micro-business, consumers, and home workers. The larger companies get, however, the less likely they are to buy at Amazon. Instead, major retailers’ and printer manufacturers’ websites have become more attractive. This study looks in great depth at the expected “stickiness” of e-commerce over time and the strengths of various channels. 


As Many as 59% Reported to Be “Very Satisfied” with the Online Purchase Experience

In addition to printer hardware, this study also looks extensively at the rise of the e-commerce channel for the printer supplies and paper markets. For ink and toner supplies, there are generational differences identified in purchasing patterns that would lead to greater or less focus on tank bottles rather than cartridges or genuine versus alternative supplies. Subscription services is another area that is on the increase, but the personas of people that will subscribe differ by age, parenthood status, as well as gender.


Subscription Services Represent an Opportunity for Growth

The e-commerce channel is also on the rise for the purchase of printing papers, although retail is a stronger second. The study explores the attributes consumers and businesses look for when choosing paper for printers and what could influence their purchase decision—be it brand, brightness, recycled content, or package size. What is the most interesting for industry players pitching to consumers and small businesses is the interest in subscription services that take the hassle out of ordering and avoid waiting time. For hybrid workers, the correlation between companies paying for the supplies and/or paper directly affects productivity.


Hybrid Workers Are Far More Likely to Choose Online with Delivery

This study also breaks out work locations whether fulltime office, fulltime at home, or hybrid. This allows us to look deeper at the purchase trends of each worker type. We discovered that hybrid workers are far more likely to use the e-commerce channel and have a higher all-round level of online shopping expected to persist as well as higher levels of sign-up to subscription services right off the printer vendors website.


To find out more about this Multi-Client Study, please speak with a member of the Keypoint Intelligence sales team at sales@keypointintelligence.com.