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Hardware Wholesale

Hardware Wholesale

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Executive summary

The Tool and Hardware Wholesaling industry distributes a range of hardware products, including hand tools, power tools and fasteners, to retailers and other wholesalers and to businesses for end use. Industry products are distributed and used by businesses in the construction and manufacturing industries and for home improvement projects. Therefore, demand for industry services depends on the level of consumer spending, construction activity and the strength of manufacturing industries. Over the majority of the five years to 2022, consumer spending and construction activity increased, supporting downstream demand, and therefore, industry revenue growth. Consequently, industry revenue is expected to increase an annualized 2.6% to $85.3 billion over the five years to 2022, including an increase of 2.6% in 2022 alone.
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Each report includes:

industry revenue;

industry profit;

industry margin;

industry employment;

industry major players;

industry key external drivers;

industry product & structure segmentation;

industry key trends;

industry Life Cycle;

industry Geographic Breakdown;

industry Key Success Factors;

industry Key statistics for previous years;

forecast of industry Key statistics for the next 5 years;

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Reference Wordlist

High barriers to entry mean that new companies struggle to enter an industry, while low barriers mean it is easy for new companies to enter an industry.

Compares the amount of money spent on capital (plant, machinery and equipment) with that spent on labor.
IBISWorld uses the ratio of depreciation to wages as a proxy for capital intensity. High capital intensity is more than $0.333 of capital to $1 of labor; medium is $0.125 to $0.333 of capital to $1 of labor; low is less than $0.125 of capital for every $1 of labor.

The dollar figures in the Key Statistics table, including forecasts, are adjusted for inflation using the current year (i.e. year published) as the base year. This removes the impact of changes in the purchasing power of the dollar, leaving only the "real" growth or decline in industry metrics. The inflation adjustments in IBISWorld’s reports are made using the US Bureau of Economic Analysis’ implicit GDP price deflator.

Spending on industry goods and services within the United States, regardless of their country of origin. It is derived by adding imports to industry revenue, and then subtracting exports.

The number of permanent, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees, working proprietors, partners, managers and executives within the industry.

Colloquial Terminology

Building, modifying or repairing of something without the aid of experts or professionals.

A strategy implemented to improve profitability by reducing inventory and purchasing the raw materials that are needed for the immediate term only.

A popular trend within wholesale in which operators supply goods directly to end user industries, reducing the reliance on the middleman.

Owning different parts of the supply chain, either in the form of forward integration (owning upstream suppliers) or backward integration (owning downstream buyers).


The industry does not manufacture products; however, the industry adds value for end users by providing customized varieties of hardware at low prices and in large quantities. The industry is dependent on the level of activity in the downstream markets. The largest downstream market for the industry is retailers that sell industry products directly to consumers and households, which is expected to generate an estimated 39.1% of industry revenue in 2022. As a result, increased consumer spending at these retailers during the period has driven revenue growth for industry operators. Industry profit has increased slightly over the past five years. For most of the period, industry profit increased; however, the onset of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic pressured industry profit due to increased operating costs. However, despite pressured profit, the industry experienced an increase in revenue in 2020 as stay-at-home orders inspired consumers to take on more home projects. As a result, industry revenue increased 4.1% in 2020 alone.

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