North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 2002

41 - Wholesale Trade

This sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in wholesaling merchandise and providing related logistics, marketing and support services. The wholesaling process is generally an intermediate step in the distribution of merchandise; many wholesalers are therefore organized to sell merchandise in large quantities to retailers, and business and institutional clients. However, some wholesalers, in particular those that supply non-consumer capital goods, sell merchandise in single units to final users.

This sector recognizes two main types of wholesalers, that is, wholesale merchants and wholesale agents and brokers.

Wholesale Merchants

Wholesale merchants buy and sell merchandise on their own account, that is, they take title to the goods they sell. They generally operate from warehouse or office locations and they may ship from their own inventory or arrange for the shipment of goods directly from the supplier to the client. In addition to the sale of goods, they may provide, or arrange for the provision of, logistics, marketing and support services, such as packaging and labelling, inventory management, shipping, handling of warranty claims, in-store or co-op promotions, and product training. Dealers of machinery and equipment, such as dealers of farm machinery and heavy-duty trucks, also fall within this category.

Wholesale merchants are known by a variety of trade designations depending on their relationship with suppliers or customers, or the distribution method they employ. Examples include wholesale merchants, wholesale distributors, drop shippers, rack-jobbers, import-export merchants, buying groups, dealer-owned cooperatives and banner wholesalers.

The first eight subsectors of wholesale trade comprise wholesale merchants. The grouping of these establishments into industry groups and industries is based on the merchandise line or lines supplied by the wholesaler.

Wholesale Agents and Brokers

Wholesale agents and brokers buy and sell merchandise owned by others on a fee or commission basis. They do not take title to the goods they buy or sell, and they generally operate at or from an office location.

Wholesale agents and brokers are known by a variety of trade designations including import-export agents, wholesale commission agents, wholesale brokers, and manufacturer's representatives and agents.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 2002 - Classification structure
Code Subsector
411Farm Product Wholesaler-Distributors Farm Product Wholesaler-DistributorsCAN
412Petroleum Product Wholesaler-Distributors Petroleum Product Wholesaler-DistributorsCAN
413Food, Beverage and Tobacco Wholesaler-Distributors Food, Beverage and Tobacco Wholesaler-DistributorsCAN
414Personal and Household Goods Wholesaler-Distributors Personal and Household Goods Wholesaler-DistributorsCAN
415Motor Vehicle and Parts Wholesaler-Distributors Motor Vehicle and Parts Wholesaler-DistributorsCAN
416Building Material and Supplies Wholesaler-Distributors Building Material and Supplies Wholesaler-DistributorsCAN
417Machinery, Equipment and Supplies Wholesaler-Distributors Machinery, Equipment and Supplies Wholesaler-DistributorsCAN
418Miscellaneous Wholesaler-Distributors Miscellaneous Wholesaler-DistributorsCAN
419Wholesale Agents and Brokers Wholesale Agents and BrokersCAN
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