The U.S. wholesale trade sector is on pace to finish above $7 trillion in 2021 for the first time, based on MDM forecasts and data through the third quarter. That represents a 21% increase above 2020 revenues of $5.8 trillion, which were down 4.3% from the year before. The record boost represents actual revenues, not adjusted for price inflation, and attributable to a combination of the sharp-V recovery year-to-year from the 2020 pandemic recession and not unrelated price inflation that has strengthened in the fourth quarter.
Each of the 19 major sectors that define the U.S. wholesale distribution sector are on pace to experience positive 2021 revenue growth rates from the high single-digits to 74% for oil and gas products distributors, reflecting the pricing rebound from 2020 to 2021.
MDM forecasts overall U.S. wholesale distribution revenues to grow more than 8% in 2022.
Across the 19 major sectors that define the wholesale distribution sector, oil and gas products distributors are forecast to record the highest year-to-year increase in 2021 as they come back 73% ahead of 2020 revenues, which were down 29% from the year before as the pandemic lockdown kept people at home. Consumer products and computer hardware/software distributors both are expected to have the lowest year-to-year increase in revenues of 7.6%.
Beer, wine and liquor distributors are also among the low-growth sectors in distribution in 2021, as MDM forecasts that sector to finish up 7.9% over 2020 revenues. But that reflects the fact that this sector was the highest growth sector in 2020, with 7.5% growth over 2019 as people increased their alcohol purchases.