Professional Equipment and Supplies, NEC

SIC 5049

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

Wholesale distributors of medical and dental laboratory equipment are classified in SIC 5047: Medical, Dental, and Hospital Equipment and Supplies.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, sales and inventory in the wholesale professional and commercial equipment and supplies industry were worth about $377.5 billion in 2011. Approximately 2,280 establishments were classified as "other professional equipment and supplies wholesalers," and these firms employed 32,737 workers earning a total payroll of $1.9 billion. The Census Bureau divided the industry into three segments: wholesalers primarily engaged in the distribution of religious and school supplies, which represented 10 percent of the market at the end of the first decade of the 2000s; wholesalers primarily engaged in the distribution of surveying and other professional equipment and supplies, which controlled about 20 percent of the market; and office supplies and stationary stores, which accounted for 60 percent of the market.

The miscellaneous professional equipment and supplies industry was subdivided into 17 specialties, which were led at the end of the first decade of the 2000s by miscellaneous professional equipment and supplies with nearly $14.8 billion in revenue, laboratory equipment (except medical or dental) with $7.8 billion, and scientific and engineering equipment and supplies with $3.5 billion in sales. This segment attributed part of its steady growth to provisions of the Clean Air Act of 1990, which brought in U.S. sales of instruments and apparatus used to measure and control pollutants. Pollution abatement programs implemented in other countries around the world were creating similar increases in those markets. Veterinary equipment and supplies, with sales of $2.6 billion, and religious and school supplies, at nearly $2.2 billion in sales, were other strong industry specialties.

About 73 percent of the distributors in the other professional equipment and supplies merchants employed fewer than 20 workers in the early 2010s. Meanwhile, only about 13 percent employed more than 100 workers. For office supplies and stationery stores, the numbers were split between small and large companies with nearly 52 percent of establishments employing fewer than 20 workers while 38 percent had more than 500 employees. For the larger professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant category, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 7.5 percent rise in overall employment (all occupations in the industry) from 2008 to 2018.

Leaders in the industry in the early 2010s included VWR International LLC, the main subsidiary of VWR Funding Inc., located in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1852, VWR provided laboratory equipment, chemicals, and supplies to customers worldwide. VWR also offered value-added services, such as warehouse management systems, electronic order entry, electronic data interchange, and bar coding for more efficient inventory control. VWR International posted sales of $594.8 million in 2010. Other leaders were Essilor Laboratories of America Inc., in Dallas Texas, with sales of $252.9 million in 2010, and Global Imaging Systems Inc. of Tampa, Florida, which was purchased by Xerox for about $1.5 billion in 2007 and recorded sales of almost $270 million in 2010. Konica Minolta Danka Imaging was created in 2008 when St. Petersburg, Florida-based Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. purchased office supply leader Danka Office Imaging Company for $240 million.

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