Companies in the sector provide support services to businesses, such as office administration, hiring and placing of personnel, security services, travel arrangement, cleaning, and waste disposal. Major companies include Automatic Data Processing, Carlson Wagonlit, ManpowerGroup, and Waste Management (all based in the US), along with Adecco (Switzerland); G4S (UK); Randstad (the Netherlands), and TUI (Germany).
Europe and the US are the primary markets for business services. Worldwide demand in the sector is driven by new business growth, job growth, increasing corporate involvement, and increasing disposable income. As a result, the industry can be expected to grow fastest in emerging economies in Africa and the Asia/Pacific region, such as Bangladesh, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. While large companies may operate globally or within a specific region, many business services firms serve smaller geographic areas near their headquarters.
The US business services sector consists of about 400,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual sales of about $810 billion.
Demand ultimately depends on the level of business spending, which is determined by the health of the overall economy. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations and effective marketing. Large companies often enjoy economies of scale and can compete for large, national accounts. Small companies can compete by offering highly specialized services, or through superior customer service. The US business services sector is highly fragmented: the 50 largest...