Companies in this industry distribute electrical products used in applications such as construction and power generation, transmission, and distribution. Major US-based companies include Anixter, Graybar Electric, and WESCO; top companies based outside the US include Gerrie (Canada), Inaba Denki Sangyo Group (Japan), and Rexel and Sonepar (both of France).
Large global distributors have been acquiring US-based distributors to broaden their reach. Emerging markets such as China and Brazil have also been targeted. Many wholesalers approach new markets through partnerships or acquisitions.
The US electrical products wholesalers industry includes about 14,500 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $150 billion.
Sales are driven by demand from the construction, manufacturing, utility, telecommunications, and hardware retailing industries. Profitability largely depends on efficient inventory management and effective merchandising. Large wholesalers enjoy economies of scale in purchasing and in building distribution networks. Smaller operators tend to compete through a focus on specialty products or superior service. The US industry is concentrated: the 50 largest companies generate more than 50% of sales.
PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Major products include interior and exterior wiring (18% of industry revenue), lighting fixtures (11%), switchgear and switchboard apparatus (8%), and industrial controls (6%). Other products include alarm systems, fuses, power and distribution transformers, and light bulbs.
Companies in this industry typically buy large quantities of products from hundreds of manufacturers, then "break bulk" and resell them to thousands of customers. This practice allows...