The global wholesaling market refers to the management and transfer of goods in the distribution chain from manufacturer to retailer. Wholesale distributors either sell or orchestrate the sale or purchase of goods between wholesalers or the sale of goods from wholesalers to retailers, and non-consumer goods in the form of materials used in production. Other industry actors include logistics, warehousing and transportation organizations.

Total goods sales of U.S. merchant wholesalers
8 trillion USD
Annual turnover of the EU wholesale and retail trade industry
10.4 trillion USD
Sales of wholesale trade in Canada
754 billion CAD

Industry insights

Wholesale Trade in the U.S. 2021


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Market size

How big is wholesale trade?
Wholesalers monthly sales in the United States from January 2017 to December 2021 (in million U.S. dollars)
Wholesalers monthly sales in the United States from January 2017 to December 2021 (in million U.S. dollars)
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Aside from the type of merchant, the wholesale retail market can be differentiated into two big groups of commodities: durable and non-durable goods. While both categories showed increasing gross margins for U.S. merchant wholesalers, non-durable goods usually ensure lower gross margins than durable goods. Similar to other sectors, wholesale trade is slowly recovering from a dramatic decline due to the pandemic.

U.S. wholesalers year over year monthly sales growth
Share of gross margin of U.S. durable goods' wholesale sales
Share of gross margin of U.S. non-durable goods' wholesale sales

Industry leaders

The biggest suppliers
McKesson Corporation's revenues by segment from 2019 to 2021* (in million U.S. dollars)
McKesson Corporation's revenues by segment from 2019 to 2021* (in million U.S. dollars)
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The ranking of the biggest U.S. wholesale manufacturers by value of revenue sees two groups operating in the pharmaceutical sector. The U.S. corporations McKesson and Cardinal Health generated revenues of over 200 and 160 billion U.S. dollars respectively, leaving behind other groups such as Sysco or Arrow Electronics.

Cardinal Health annual revenue
Sysco annual sales' value
Net sales of Performance Food group

Industry definition

In this category, Statista offers data describing the contribution of the wholesale sector to national economies, the sales revenue of wholesale trade regarding several commodities and countries, and the latest annual change trends. Additional data provide an extensive mapping of companies and merchants operating in the field.
Information also includes data on merchant wholesalers. As the leading type of wholesale firm, merchant wholesalers constitute the main distribution channel for most goods, except for motor vehicles and parts. Merchant wholesalers, who take ownership of products prior to distribution, are divided into several subcategories, including importers and exporters, co-operative buying associations, industrial distributors, and farm product marketing cooperatives. Other merchant wholesaler types include voluntary group wholesalers, assemblers, industrial distributors, terminal elevators, retailer cooperative warehouses, cash-and-carry wholesalers, and drop shippers.


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