Is Distribution as Strong as Rest of Economy? - Modern Distribution Management

Log In

Is Distribution as Strong as Rest of Economy?

Survey key to assessing where industry is heading in 2018.

The U.S. economy improved in 2017, and all signs are pointing to continued prosperity in the new year. While distribution also performed well in the past 12 months, can it keep pace?

This is the 10th year MDM has partnered with Baird for a quarterly industry survey. Collaboratively, we compile the most comprehensive and granular snapshot of distribution economic trending for the most recent three-month period to accurately gauge how business conditions are likely to shape up in the quarters ahead.

The results of the latest survey, which is now closed, will be in the Jan. 25 edition of MDM Premium.

Distributors averaged 3.9 percent revenue growth in the third quarter, according to the last MDM-Baird Distribution Survey, taken in October. That was down slightly from second quarter but up significantly from the nearly flat performance of 3Q 2016. It also fell shy of the 4.5 percent revenue growth distributors projected for the quarter.

Hurricanes stunted growth in 3Q by disrupting building material supply chains in places like Texas and Florida, offsetting strength in the industrial sector, but the weather didn’t diminish distributors’ hopes for a steady finish to the year. Survey respondents projected revenue growth of 3.9 percent for the fourth quarter and 4 percent for 2018. Will those expectations hold up?

The early indicators out of Washington have been mostly positive. Here’s our coverage of key economic trend reports from the first week of 2018 that show the economy is on the right track:

Where will we go from here? Recently passed tax legislation holds the promise of increased capital investment, while renegotiated trade deals such as NAFTA could provide an economic stumbling block.

The MDM-Baird Distribution Survey provides a quarterly snapshot of sales trends and other key metrics across the distribution industry. The survey is conducted by the Distribution Research Team at Robert W. Baird & Co. All individual information is held strictly confidential and responses are aggregated to provide a gauge of overall trends.

Related Posts

Share this article

About the Author
Recommended Reading
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

Get the MDM Update Newsletter

Wholesale distribution news and trends delivered right to your inbox.

Sign-up for our free newsletter and get:

  • Up-to-date news in a quick-to-read format
  • Free access to webcasts, podcasts and live events
  • Exclusive whitepapers, research and reports
  • And more!


articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events

Subscribe to continue reading

MDM Premium Subscribers get:

  • Unlimited access to
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events



You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.

Join other distribution executives who use MDM Premium to optimize their business. Our insights and analysis help you enter the right new markets, turbocharge your sales and marketing efforts, identify business partners that help you scale, and stay ahead of your competitors.

Register for full access

By providing your email, you agree to receive announcements from us and our partners for our newsletter, events, surveys, and partner resources per MDM Terms & Conditions. You can withdraw consent at any time.

Learn More about Custom Reports

Request a Market Prospector Demo

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.