United States

2010 McGladrey Distribution Industry Report Released

Third Quarter 2010


In June 2010, McGladrey released its fifth annual Manufacturing and Wholesale Distribution National Survey Report. This report includes information from leaders of manufacturing and wholesale distribution enterprises on the current state of their companies and industry.

Among 1,061 respondents included in the final survey analysis, 343 were leaders of distribution businesses. Segments represented by distributors in the survey include machinery, building materials, food and beverage, and paper and related industries. Some of the report findings include:

  • About 35 percent (or 121 companies) are distributors with some manufacturing capabilities
  • Sixty-five percent of distributors report annual revenues of less than $100 million; 29 percent have annual revenues between $100 and $499.9 million and 6 percent of companies have revenue greater than $500 million
  • By workforce size, 46 percent of distributors in the survey have fewer than 100 employees.
  • Half of the companies are engaged in the global business activities of importing, exporting or conducting production offshore
  • While 45 percent of distributors say they expect their companies to recover this year, 31 percent say recovery will not start until 2011. Another six percent do not expect a rebound until 2012 or beyond.
  • Mergers and acquisitions might be making a comeback; 28 percent of distributors said they will participate in such activity.
  • While international business is a proven strategic hedge against lower U.S.-based sales, this year’s survey shows distributors area relying more heavily on domestic sales growth. Only 29 percent of distributors are relying on non-U.S. sales as a growth strategy.
  • Domestic employment in distribution is slowly recovering. Of the 336 companies reporting their intent, 149 (44 percent) are hiring workers this, with only 6 percent expecting to expand their workforce by more than 10 percent.

To learn more about the U.S. wholesale distribution industry, which comprises approximately 300,000 companies with combined annual sales of about $6 trillion, download the 2010 McGladrey Distribution Industry Report.