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The rapid emergence of today's nearly 24 million home-working population in America has opened up a new sales opportunity - office supplies, notes a marketing communications company.

A recent report issued by the New York-based Howard Marlboro Group says supermarkets, by offering convenience of location in residential areas, attractive interior design and easy-to-find product displays, are offering growing competition to traditional office-supply dealers.Office supplies, including notebooks, paper, envelopes, generic forms, adhesive products and even art supplies, account for nearly 15 percent of the total money spent for these office necessities in supermarkets.

Last year more than $818 million was spent for home-office supplies in supermarkets. It was estimated that sales will grow as much as 7 percent in 1991.