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Wholesale trade in Germany - statistics & facts

Wholesale trade means selling goods in very large quantities to businesses, such as retailers, who then proceed to sell to the consumer public. In 2021, German wholesale prices increased by almost ten percent compared to the year before. Leading wholesaler companies in Germany include BayWa, the Würth Group and Brenntag.

These companies started out focusing on one retail segment, but have expanded with time. BayWa sells building and construction materials, as well as focusing on agriculture (crop production and plant cultivation, animal husbandry, machinery, gardening) and energy (fuel oil, diesel, wood pellets, lubricants, fuel cards and new mobility). The Würth Group's core business revolves around selling to craft and industrial establishments, from parts to instruments. Finally, Brenntag sells chemicals and substances.

The number of German wholesale companies has been decreasing during the 2000s. In 2021, there were 134,962 wholesale companies in Germany, compared to 187,174 in 2002. There are several reasons for this. If a wholesaler is seen as a type of middleman in the retail industry, bypassing this middleman and purchasing goods directly from a supplier appeals to businesses as it enables them to cut costs. Access to the supplier has been made easier thanks to the internet and the advancement of mobile technology. Online shopping across various product categories, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, negates the need for brick-and-mortar store visits and the stores as such. In short, e-commerce poses new challenges for the future of wholesale.

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