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Facts & figures

Facts & figures

One company out of four in Europe is active in the retail and wholesale sector. Retail and wholesale is one of the main job providers in the EU. Our sector thrives on fierce competition, keeping prices low and boosting innovation in the supply chain.

See below for some key data, or have a look at our study, "Retail & Wholesale: Key sectors for the European economy".

 

Key figures for trade

(NACE G)

Structural profile
Number of entrerprises 5.4 m
Turnover in EUR 8.85 tn*
Number of persons employed 29.2 m*
Value added in EUR* 1.1 tn
E-commerce share of turnover 16%** (aggregated)

 Source: Eurostat 2014 (*2015)

Companies by size-class in 1000
Micro (<10 employees) 4047 92.8%
Small 300 5.5%
Medium 38 0.7%
Large 3 0.1%
Total 5388 100.0%

Source: Eurostat 2014

 

Retail
(NACE G 47)

Retail is probably the most visible sub-sector. The word retail comes from the old French word "tailer" which means "to cut off, clip, pare, divide". It refers to the sale of goods or services from companies to individual end-consumers. Retailers usually buy their products in larger quantities from manufacturers or wholesalers and sell them in smaller quantities to their customers.

Retail trading takes place in many different locations: from small corner shops to supermarkets or large department stores or shopping centres, on markets, at consumers’ homes through direct or distant selling via mail order or, now increasingly, on the internet.

Sectoral analysis
Number of enterprises 3.62 m
Turnover in EUR  2.916 tn*
Number of persons employed  18,8 m*
Value added in EUR*  480 bn
Labour productivity  25.511 EUR/employee
Personnel costs  20.766 EUR/employee

Source: Eurostat 2014 (*2015)

 

Wholesale
(NACE G 46)

Wholesale, the sale of merchandise to retailers or other professional businesses, is a major player in the economy, though still unknown to many. It plays a pivotal role as interface between producers, importers, manufacturers, retail and catering, ensuring the supply of goods along the entire value chain.

Wholesalers’ activities centre on the procurement and distribution of raw materials, finished products and goods of all kinds (consumer goods, capital goods, construction materials). For some products, for example foodstuffs or flowers, wholesalers and their customers come together at specific wholesale markets. Many wholesalers provide integrated B2B services on national and international markets, as well as attractive financing solutions, thus providing additional support to their customers.

Sectoral analysis
Number of enterprises 1.8 m
Turnover in EUR 5.938 tn*
Number of persons employed  10.4 m*
Value added in EUR*  616 bn
Labour productivity  59.241 EUR/employee
Personnel costs  39.190 EUR/employee

Source: Eurostat 2014 (*2015)

 

Further information

Key data (2-pager)

Study: Retail & Wholesale: Key sectors for the European economy