Safety Equipment & Supplies Distributors in the US Industry Market Research Report Now Available from IBISWorld

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Over the past five years, the recession led to reduced demand from construction and manufacturing, which are the two key markets for safety equipment distributors. Despite a decline in revenue for industry operators, rising consumer spending is expected boost manufacturing activity. In addition, the recovering construction markets will increase demand for safety equipment. Improving demand from these two markets will increase industry revenue over the next five years. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has added a report on the Safety Equipment and Supplies Distributors industry to its growing industry report collection.

IBISWorld Market Research

IBISWorld Market Research

Improving construction and manufacturing markets will boost demand for industry products

Like most wholesalers, participants in the Safety Equipment and Supplies Distributors industry seek to purchase goods at a discount and sell them at a premium. Unlike other wholesalers, the nature of safety equipment ensures a more stable level of demand thanks to federal and company-specific regulations mandating the use of safety equipment and supplies in certain hazardous work environments. In this way, overarching regulations and policies constitute a major form of industry assistance. At the same time, a lack of substitutes for the products this industry wholesales limits external competition. While the industry has many positives going for it, revenue performance remains tied to two broad but well-defined downstream markets: manufacturing and construction. Those sectors demand a wide variety of safety equipment and supplies, from rubber mats used for standing for long periods to ionizers that reduce static electricity in the air. The performance of these downstream markets can be measured using the industrial production index as a proxy for overall manufacturing activity and the total value of construction as a gauge for demand from builders. As these indicators fluctuate, demand and revenue for related safety goods moves in kind, says IBISWorld industry analyst Josh McBee. The number of work-related deaths also has a bearing on industry demand, as upticks in this metric can spur new legislation or product redesigns that drive replacement demand.
The Safety Equipment and Supplies Distributors industry is large and fragmented, thus indicating a low market share concentration. IBISWorld estimates that the industry's largest company in the industry is Airgas Inc. Instead of market share pooling under the umbrellas of a few large corporations, there are numerous small retailers, dealerships and distributors that collectively supply a majority of the market and generate the lion's share of revenue in aggregate, says McBee. Further, multiple channels of distribution characterize the industry. Distribution channels include retail outlets; small distributorships; national, regional and local distributors; direct mail suppliers; large warehouse stores; manufacturers' sales branches and offices (MSBOs); and online channels. The ability to enter the industry through one or more of these channels increases the number of relevant businesses and keeps market share concentration low.
During the past five years, the Great Recession has reduced demand from key downstream sectors. Increased unemployment has reduced consumer spending, in turn driving industrial manufacturing down to five-year lows during 2009. Likewise, the lack of consumer confidence has reduced construction activity in each year since 2007, in turn lowering demand for related safety equipment and supplies. As a result, industry revenue is expected to decline at an annualized rate of 1.7% during the five years to 2012. In 2012, IBISWorld expects ongoing recoveries in key downstream markets and decreasing levels of unemployment will renew downstream demand and boost revenue 1.2%, thus bringing the industry's total to an estimated $10.9 billion. This recovery is forecast to continue through the coming five years as well. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Safety Equipment and Supplies Distributors in the US industry report page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

Firms in this industry distribute and deliver safety equipment and supplies to businesses and consumers. Generally, these items are purchased in bulk for manufacturing, construction and other labor-intensive industries. Distributors with retail outlets are included, but manufacturers with retail outlets and suppliers of goods for medical and healthcare markets are excluded.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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