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Top 5 trends of the Wholesale Distribution Industry- The Dawn of a new era in 2021

Written By: Karthikeyan Rajan


Top 5 trends of the Wholesale Distribution Industry- The Dawn of a new era in 2021

April 7, 2021 7-Minute read


The wholesale distribution industry was evolving at its own pace before 2020. But the pandemic situation has triggered a lot of rethinking and turning the business model to be more efficient and pandemic free. Many wholesale distributors are looking for insights into distribution disruption and the forces that are shaping the industry. Some of the wholesale distribution industry has already started to implement new ideas and benefiting from the same.
Wholesale distributors are realising importance of going Digital and swiftly adopting Digital technologies. Also, they are increasingly started providing value added services like credit financing and Distributor managed Inventory. The changing status quo reflects several modern trends.

Below are some of the trends seen in 2020 for the wholesale distribution industry.


  1. Direct to Consumer: Retail and consumer products companies are inclining to the direct-to-consumer (D2C) model, which makes them compete directly with the traditional wholesale distribution model. For example, Nike has announced that they will reduce their distribution partners from 30,000 to focus on only 40 partners. 
  2. Omnichannel Selling: In 2020, many B2B businesses started shifting their focus from the traditional approach to omnichannel selling. With this, they are providing consumers a streamlined and connected buying experience across all platforms.
  3. Growing E-Commerce for B2B Market: B2B industry is investing more in E-commerce technology in Retail so that the whole supply chain will be more streamlined and faster. Online wholesale stores can be more visible through search engines. Retailers will stay connected as a customer to the wholesale industry.
  4. Expanding into the Global market:  As customers are increasingly buying international products, expanding into the global market is now very much essential for wholesale distributors. Wholesalers are investing more in digitizing supply chains due to the surge in demand for international products.
  5. Inventory and Order management transparency: Wholesalers are more focused on implementing new inventory management technologies that allow them to make data-driven decisions and handle business operations centrally. So investing in warehousing and inventory management are among the top trends of 2020.

Top wholesale Distribution trends of 2021

  1. Business Cost will rise: For the USA and nearby countries the import cost of raw material and goods for sale will soar. Shipping costs will also be going upward in 2021. Manufacturers will face difficulties in delivering value to the end-customers and they will look for innovative ways to control the cost.
  2. Increased Technology Penetration: Technologies will be an inseparable part of the wholesale distribution. Small and medium-sized companies will continue to evolve with technology by fine-tuning their existing software. Larger companies will adopt some of the robust technology such as robotics, IoT, Blockchain, etc.
  3. Wholesaler prioritize new supply chain technology: Intelligent supply chain planning technologies are now the topmost priority as distributors want to increase visibility into demand and supply planning. Distribution firms will embrace advanced aspects like Demand sensing, Optimizing Inventory, Multilevel planning, and Response management.
  4. Next generation Digital Marketing and ecommerce: Wholesale distributors will invest more in the E-Commerce platform, so they can provide the same user-friendly ordering and customer experiences that their clients are used to online. By improving digital marketing techniques such as search engine optimization, they will be more discoverable. Online payment systems will fasten the price negotiations and settlements.
  5. Role of Customer Experience Management: Wholesale distributors of the future will transform their thinking from meeting customer needs to anticipate and shape them, proactively delivering solutions to problems that customers may not even know they have. The trends will focus on effectively engaging customers’ demands innovation in executing the value chain. Customer experience management will bridge the gaps and play a crucial role in delivering value to the end customers.


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