First Research US Industry Profile

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Wholesale Sector
SIC Codes: 50 , 51
NAICS Codes: 42
Last Quarterly Update: 5/27/2019
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).
The wholesale distribution industry in the US includes about 415,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual sales of about $7.8 trillion.
Competitive Landscape
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 a quarter of industry revenue.
Computer and communications technology have had a major effect on the industry by improving the efficiency of warehouse and distribution operations. Largely because of automation, industry labor productivity improved by about 12% between 2007 and 2017.
Supply chain efficiencies allow some manufacturers and retailers to bypass independent distributors. Large retailers like Walmart operate their own distribution systems, often taking delivery of products directly from producers.
Imports have become a more important source of supply for distributors, as more US manufacturers have foreign factories, and as more foreign-produced goods have cost advantages over US-made products. Foreign sources of supply have become especially important for distributors of electronics, steel, car parts, textiles, electrical and plumbing products, and furniture.
Products, Operations & Technology
The major segments of the US wholesale sector are distribution of nondurable goods (about 52% of industry revenue) and durable goods (about 48%). Leading ... plus:
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Finance & Regulation
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Regional & International Issues
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Human Resources
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
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Industry Indicators
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Business Challenges
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Trends and Opportunities
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Call Preparation Questions
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Financial Information
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Industry Forecast
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Industry Websites
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Glossary of Acronyms

Historical Profiles (PDF format)

02/18/2019
11/12/2018
08/13/2018
05/14/2018
02/12/2018
11/06/2017
08/07/2017
05/08/2017
01/30/2017
10/17/2016
07/18/2016
04/18/2016
01/18/2016
10/12/2015
07/13/2015
04/13/2015
01/19/2015
10/20/2014
07/28/2014
05/05/2014
02/10/2014
11/04/2013
08/12/2013
05/20/2013
02/25/2013
11/19/2012
08/27/2012
06/04/2012
03/12/2012
11/21/2011
08/22/2011
05/02/2011
01/31/2011
10/25/2010
08/02/2010
04/26/2010
01/25/2010