Canadian wholesale revenues in 2022 totaled C$1.6T, up 21.2% over 2021, driven by the petroleum and petroleum products subsector; cost of goods sold by wholesalers up 22.9% to C$1.3T: Statistics Canada

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OTTAWA , December 11, 2023 (press release) –

The total operating revenue of Canadian wholesalers increased 21.2% from 2021 to 2022, rising from $1.3 trillion to $1.6 trillion. This increase was primarily due to the petroleum and petroleum products subsector, which experienced a substantial increase of 47.3%. The eight remaining subsectors saw revenues increase in 2022.

The cost of goods sold, which represents the cost of acquiring goods for resale, rose 22.9% to $1.3 trillion in 2022.

As a result, gross margins for wholesalers (the difference between total operating revenue and the cost of goods sold, expressed as a percentage of total operating revenue) decreased from 16.9% in 2021 to 15.8% in 2022.

Total operating expenses, which include labour remuneration, were up 10.7% to $165.9 billion.

Overall, the operating profits of wholesalers as a percentage of total operating revenue decreased from 5.5% in 2021 to 5.4% in 2022.

Wholesale revenue driven up by petroleum and machinery
The largest increase in total operating revenue was observed in the petroleum and petroleum products subsector, up 47.3% to $492.1 billion in 2022. Revenue, expenses, and costs of goods sold were up in this subsector mainly due to the increased price of the underlying commodity, crude oil. The Canadian crude oil price index peaked at over $100 a barrel in 2022 from a low of under $35 a barrel in 2021.

The second-largest increase in revenue was observed in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector, which was up 12.7% to $214.9 billion in 2022.

Among wholesale merchants, the third-largest rise, in dollar terms, was reported in the miscellaneous subsector, which posted a 19.1% increase to reach $142.9 billion in 2022.

Excluding the petroleum and petroleum products subsector, the total operating revenue for wholesalers in Canada in 2022 increased by 12.3%.

Gross margins decrease
Expressed as a percentage of total operating revenue, wholesale gross margins decreased from 16.9% in 2021 to 15.8% in 2022. This was due in part to declining gross margins in the miscellaneous (from 21.2% to 20.1%) and in the motor vehicles and parts (from 14.1% to 13.4%) subsectors.

In 2022, gross margins varied widely among subsectors, depending on the cost structure of the different types of wholesalers. Among wholesale merchants, the highest gross margin was in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector (26.5%), followed by the personal and household goods subsector (25.0%). In the petroleum and petroleum products subsector, gross margins increased slightly from 4.2% in 2021 to 4.3% in 2022.

Wholesale revenue up across Canada
In 2022, wholesalers in all provinces and territories reported higher total operating revenue compared with 2021. Overall, total operating revenue in Canada increased $278.3 billion to reach $1.6 trillion in 2022.

Alberta and Ontario led the increases in wholesale total operating revenues in 2022, their share of which increased by a combined $198.9 billion to reach $1.1 trillion. This represented 68.1% of the total operating revenue for wholesalers in Canada.

In 2022, wholesale total operating revenue in Ontario remained the highest among all the provinces, increasing 13.1% to $576.2 billion. In dollar terms, among the subsectors in Ontario, the largest increases were in the petroleum and petroleum product subsector (to $26.6 billion) and the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector (to $113.0 billion).

In 2022, wholesalers in Alberta reported a 35.4% annual growth in total operating revenue to reach $505.9 billion. The increase was mainly attributable to the petroleum and petroleum products subsector, which rose 40.6%. This subsector accounted for 76.3% of wholesalers' total operating revenue in this province.

Wholesalers in Quebec posted the third-highest total operating revenue in 2022, at $224.5 billion, up from $195.2 billion in 2021. The increase was mainly due to the petroleum and petroleum products, the personal and household goods and the building materials and supplies subsectors, which combined accounted for 70.7% of the increase in total operating revenue in Quebec.

  Note to readers
Data for 2021 have been revised.

Contact information
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

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