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Wholesale at the Centre of Europe's Economy



This report sets out wholesalers’ key contribution to making the European economy work. It describes the very diverse roles of wholesalers across a wide range of sectors and the challenges they face. It also points to a number of priorities for policy action which can serve to address these.

Wholesale is a key contributor to Europe’s economy. Nearly 2 million companies are wholesale businesses providing quality work to 11 million Europeans, making up 5% of total EU employment, and generating together €660 billion value-added.

Wholesalers play an important role in the value chain, providing a vital link between producer and retailer, along with a wide range of services to business. Wholesale is constantly changing, and embracing the challenges of digitalisation, sustainability, and developing employee skills. Wholesalers are overwhelmingly SMEs, and 91% are micro-businesses with less 10 employees. They need a policy framework at European level that will minimise the regulatory burden and help them thrive.

Wholesalers link industry and professional customers and create a seamless service to retailers, public authorities, industry and other professionals and service providers, and are often at the centre of sophisticated data-driven industrial ecosystems, providing goods and added-value services to their business customers.