2018 Economic Benchmarks for Wholesale Distribution - Modern Distribution Management

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2018 Economic Benchmarks for Wholesale Distribution

Real revenue increased 3.5 percent overall in 2017.

After declining in 2016, total revenues of the U.S. wholesale distribution industry grew by 7.6 percent in 2017 to $5.7 trillion, according to the newly released 2018 Economic Benchmarks for Wholesale Distribution, published by Modern Distribution Management, in partnership with Oracle NetSuite. But inflation also returned; real (inflation-adjusted) revenue increased 3.5 percent for the year overall. After a four-year overall deflationary trend impacting 19 wholesale distribution sectors defined by their product categories, inflation broadly returned to the industry in 2017, with 17 of the 19 sectors recording pricing increases; in 2016, 13 sectors recorded price declines.

MDM predicts that all but two of the 19 major sectors will record revenue growth in 2018 and 2019 (in nominal terms, or not adjusted for inflation). Overall, MDM forecasts 2018 industry revenues for the U.S. wholesale distribution sector to grow at 5.3 percent, slowing to 3.6 percent in 2019. After price adjustments, the wholesale distribution industry grew faster than the overall U.S. economy in 2017 by 1.2 percentage points (3.5 percent for wholesale distribution versus 2.3 percent for U.S. gross domestic product). The fastest growth is anticipated in Oil and Gas Products Wholesale Distributors—the only double-digit growth sector in 2018—as oil and gas commodity prices improve to a level that warrants increased drilling and production. Industrial Distributors are projected to have the second fastest growth.

This is the 13th edition of MDM's Economic Benchmarks for Wholesale Distribution, published each year to provide a comprehensive look at the wholesale distribution industry. The data in the report is based on information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis – and incorporates the periodic revisions released the U.S. government.

Distributors use the Economic Benchmarks for Wholesale Distribution reports to benchmark their performance with data on how much sales and sales per employee have changed in their lines of trade, how much weekly earnings have changed, which end-markets are consuming their products, how sales and inventories have fared quarter-by-quarter and how many companies are competing in their lines of trade.

Learn more about the 2018 Economic Benchmarks for Wholesale Distribution here.


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