The number of B2B distributors in business is flat at about 630,000 companies, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bureau of Labor Statistics. But strong economic headwinds aside, distributors and wholesalers are on track for a year of solid — even exceedingly solid — sales growth.
Distributor sales and those from wholesalers have already topped $4 trillion
For the first six months of the year, the combined sales of all U.S. wholesalers and distributors increased year over year to $4.126 trillion. That’s up 22.1% from $3.380 billion in the first six months of 2021, according to the Department of Commerce.
Using Department of Commerce sales statistics, Digital Commerce 360 projects that total 2022 sales for all distributors and wholesalers will increase about to $8.000 trillion. That would be a 20.4% from $6.644 trillion in 2021.
Distributor sales continue to post good monthly gains despite challenges such as supply chain disruption, high inflation, rising interest rates and a tight labor market. Accounting for the continued growth are still high productivity level in multiple manufacturing sectors, says the Department of Commerce.
Digital commerce is growing for large public distributors such as Fastenal Co., Global Industrial, MSC Industrial Supply Co., MRC Global Inc., W.W. Grainger Inc. and Watsco Inc. For these distributors, digital sales are now the dominant (or close to becoming the dominant) sales channel. Digital sales are those that occur through ecommerce, electronic data interchange, e-procurement, and marketplaces.
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