Join us

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 8.73 tn
Number of persons employed 29.4 m
Value added in EUR 1.2 tn
Share of enterprisesturnover on e-commerce 16%

 Source: Eurostat 2016

Companies by size-class in 1000
Micro (<10 employees) 5046 93.4%
Small 309 5.7%
Medium 39 0.7%
Large 7 0.1%
Total 5401 100.0%

Source: Eurostat 2016

Retail

(NACE G 47)

Retail is probably the most visible sub-sector. The word retail comes from the old French word "tailler" 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 3.63 m
Turnover in EUR  2.769 tn
Number of persons employed  19,3 m
Value added in EUR  519 bn
Turnover per employee  142.473 EUR/employee
Personnel costs  17.644 EUR/employee

Source: Eurostat 2016

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 5.970 tn
Number of persons employed  10.6 m
Value added in EUR  660 bn
Turnover per employee  563.222 EUR/employee
Personnel costs  34.644 EUR/employee

Source: Eurostat 2016

 

Further information

Key data (2-pager)

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