To provide estimates that are more detailed than what is collected on a monthly basis, and more current than the five-year Economic Census.
Title 13 of the United States Code authorizes the Census Bureau to conduct this survey and provides for mandatory responses.
Merchant wholesale companies provide estimates on sales, e-commerce, end-of-year inventories, inventories held outside the U.S., purchases, and total operating expenses. Sales tax and detailed expense items are requested every 5 years, with the most recent collection in 2012. Purchases and detailed operating expenses are only collected for merchant wholesale companies, excluding manufacturers’ sales branches and offices.
Agent, broker, and electronic market companies provide estimates on sales, commissions, and operating expenses.
Uses of Annual Wholesale Trade Data:
The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses the estimates as an input to estimate sales and
inventories for the Gross Domestic Product.
The Council of Economic Advisers uses the estimates for assessing near term economic activity.
The Department of the Treasury uses the estimates to research economic trends.
Business and industry groups use the estimates to forecast future demand.
Researchers use the estimates to benchmark the results from their own sampling operations.
Manufacturers can use inventory estimates as a proxy for the distributors confidence for future expected sales.
Estimates are typically released 14 months after the end of the data year.
Estimates are benchmarked to the most recent Economic Census of Wholesale Trade.
Released as a separate report annually since 2003. Prior to 2003 was released as part of the Annual Benchmark Report for Wholesale Trade.
New samples are drawn approximately every 5 years and are updated quarterly. Use of the latest sample began with the 2011 annual report.
Coverage: Companies with employment that are primarily engaged in wholesale trade in the U.S., as defined by the 2007 NAICS