Charts: U.S. Wholesale Trade Trends Q2 2023

The Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau (PDF) gathers data on sales, end-of-month inventories, and inventory-to-sales ratios for U.S. wholesale firms.

The survey focuses on wholesalers selling goods on their own accounts, including merchants or jobbers, industrial distributors, exporters, and importers. However, the survey excludes manufacturing, refining, and mining firms marketing their own products.

In May 2023, wholesale sales in the United States were $650.20 billion, a slight 0.2% decline from the previous month and a 4% decrease from the same period in 2022.

Separately, the Census Bureau conducts a biweekly “Business Trends and Outlook Survey” to gauge the state of the U.S. economy. The survey queries around 1.2 million companies and gathers information on their performance, revenue changes, employment levels, working hours, operating status, supply chain impacts, demand trends, and prices.

The “Wholesale Trade” sector of the biweekly survey consists of businesses wholesaling merchandise without altering it. The sector consists of two primary types: (i) merchant wholesalers who sell goods on their own behalf and (ii) B2B electronic markets, agents, and brokers who facilitate sales and purchases for others.

In July 2023, 16.3% of surveyed wholesale businesses considered their current performance above average. Only 6.2% characterized their performance as excellent.

A hefty 76.2% of surveyed wholesalers reported no change in the time it takes for their business to receive supplier deliveries in July 2023.

Of the wholesale respondents, 3.6% have increased their utilization of online platforms to offer goods or services in July 2023.

Adel Boukarroum
Adel Boukarroum
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