Wholesale Sector Industry Profile

Report Page Length: 10-12
Last Quarterly Update: 1/30/2017
SIC Codes: 50 , 51
NAICS Codes: 42
Chapters Include:
Industry Overview Trends & Challenges Industry Forecast
Quarterly Industry Update Call Prep Questions Website & Media Links
Business Challenges Financial Information Glossary & Acronyms
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Excerpt from Wholesale Sector Industry Profile

Companies in this sector distribute nondurable or durable goods, typically specializing by product category. Major US distributors include Avnet (electronics), McKesson (drugs), and SYSCO (foods); top companies based outside the US include Brenntag (Germany, chemicals), Medipal (Japan, drug and household products), and WPG (Taiwan, electronic components).

China's wholesale industry is the world's largest, with RMB 2.6 trillion in sales in 2012, according to Euromonitor. More than 15 million people were employed by nearly 1.5 million wholesale companies in China in 2012, more than twice the number in 2006. India's fast-growing wholesale sector is valued at about $300 billion and is forecast to grow to $700 billion by 2020. The industry included more than 958,000 companies, mainly small establishments, employed about 10 million workers, and generated 6.3% of the nation's GDP in 2012, according to Euromonitor.

The wholesale distribution industry in the US includes about 400,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual sales of about $8 trillion.


For most distributors, demand is closely linked to local economic activity. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient inventory management and order fulfillment operations. Large companies can supply customers with a wider range of goods and in more markets, but smaller distributors can compete successfully by carrying specialty products or providing add-on services. In the US, the industry is highly fragmented: the 50 largest distributors generate about 25% of ...

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