Key industry trends for wholesalers in 2024

wholesale trends

A 2024 report conducted by NuOrder, which involved speaking with 65 top brands and retail experts, examined wholesale trends for the next five years. The key topics highlighted? 

  • Sustainability
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Data Analytics 
  • Inventory Management

From the shift towards sustainable energy solutions to the competitive dynamics of larger corporations, there are several trends driving significant transformation in the industry. 

The energy sector's leap towards renewability

A key trend dominating 2024 is the energy sector leaning into green and clean energy. Of course, this switch isn't just good for the planet; it's also proving profitable for companies. They're getting steadier and stronger financially by focusing on renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. 

This shift is creating exciting new opportunities for wholesalers who deal in renewable energy. And here’s where solutions like Orderwise can help – it helps these businesses keep up with these fast changes, manage their resources smarter, and make better predictions for the future. It’s all about staying agile and making the most of what’s next in the world of energy.

Navigating competition with bigger players

In the grocery sector especially, trends are leaning towards an intense market dynamic where large players and smaller retailers are in a tug-of-war competition. Issues around restrictive practices by larger corporations have brought to light the need for fair competition and regulatory balance. And it's not just about competition for the sake of it; it's about ensuring that competition is healthy, fair, and contributes to a diverse marketplace. 

This need has drawn attention to the role of regulations and oversight in the industry. There's a growing call for policies that prevent dominant players from using their size to unfairly limit the opportunities for smaller businesses. The aim is to balance the scales so that smaller retailers aren't just surviving, but have a genuine chance to thrive.

PSTN switch-off driving the need for digitisation

A crucial development in the wholesale sector is the impending PSTN (public switched telephone network) switch-off in 2025. This transition demands a shift from analog systems to digital solutions across various business functions including telecommunications, payment processing, and security systems. 

For wholesalers and many industries alike, this isn't just a minor update; it's a significant overhaul of many foundational aspects of their business. The switch-off means that any technology relying on the old PSTN - from fax machines to older broadband connections and some alarm systems - will need to be replaced or upgraded. This includes systems that many might not immediately consider, such as certain types of EPOS (Electronic Point Of Sale) systems and CCTV operations, which are often integral to a wholesaler’s daily operations.

Demand for tech-driven transformations

Automation is becoming a game-changer in wholesale distribution, boosting operational efficiency and acclerating growth. It's being woven into ERP and inventory systems to improve processes, make forecasting sharper, and customise customer interactions.

Additionally, AI is working hand-in-hand with technologies like cloud computing, real-time data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT). This synergy is transforming how wholesalers operate, enabling them to be more agile, responsive to market changes, and competitive in an evolving industry landscape​.

For more details on these trends, refer to the original sources: Good Energy Wholesale, Grocery Gazette, and Talking Retail.

The future of wholesale

These trends, as outlined in the NuOrder report and reflected in industry movements, demonstrate a critical period of transition and growth in the wholesale sector. Technology and sustainability are at the heart of this transformation, signaling a new era of efficiency, competition, and environmental consciousness in wholesale practices.

wholesale distribution ebook

Leading wholesale and distribution software 

Real-time data is a critical ingredient for success in the wholesale distribution industry. As a vital link in global supply chains, wholesalers and distributors must harness the power of real-time data to stay competitive. This requires the right technology solutions that enable efficient data management and analysis. 

By leveraging advanced technological tools, wholesalers and distributors can improve operational efficiency, make informed decisions, and drive sustainable growth in the ever-changing business landscape.