Chemical Wholesalers Industry Profile

Report Page Length: 10-12
Last Quarterly Update: 11/1/2021
SIC Codes: 5162, 5169
NAICS Codes: 4246
Chapters Include:
Industry Overview Trends & Challenges Industry Forecast
Quarterly Industry Update Call Prep Questions Website & Media Links
Business Challenges Financial Information Glossary & Acronyms
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Excerpt from Chemical Wholesalers Industry Profile

Companies in this industry operate as merchant wholesale distributors of plastics materials and a variety of other chemical products. Major companies include Tricon Energy and Univar Solutions (both based in the US), Brenntag and HELM AG (both based in Germany), ITOCHU (Japan), and Sinochem (China).

Most large companies operate globally but their distribution networks are concentrated in a single region or country. China, the US, Japan, and Germany produce the most chemicals, but countries in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Asia/Pacific are expected to see the greatest production growth over the next several years. China and India should have the highest growth rates, followed by Brazil and Russia.

The US chemical wholesalers industry includes about 12,800 establishments (single-location companies and branches of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $240 billion.


Chemical distribution is a cyclical business dependent on industrial demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on an efficient distribution system. Larger companies can offer more products and services. Local and regional distributors can compete effectively through superior service or geographic focus. The US industry is concentrated: the largest 50 companies generate more than half of revenue.

Imports to the US of industrial chemicals and plastic resins, largely from Canada, Mexico, China, and Brazil, are substantial. Many of these imports move through chemicals distributors.


Major products distributed are plastic materials, alkalis and chlorine, detergents and soaps, adhesives, and ...

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