Canadian wholesale trade fell in March under the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

Statistics Canada announced that, as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread throughout the economy, wholesale sales fell 2.2% to $63.9 billion in March, following three consecutive monthly gains.

The Federal Agency reports that three of the seven subsectors recorded lower sales, accounting for 29% of total wholesale sales. In dollar terms, the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector contributed the most to the decline. Excluding this subsector, wholesale sales rose 2.1

Feedback from respondents highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sales and inventories in March 2020.

Over three-quarters (75.9%) of wholesalers saw their business activity impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The personal and household goods subsector (84.9%) reported the highest proportion of affected businesses, led by the home furnishings industry (90.0%) and the personal goods industry (87.4%). Lower sales volumes were caused by the mandatory closure of non-essential businesses. The pharmaceuticals and pharmacy supplies industry reported that 43.7% of businesses were affected by COVID-19. Many of these businesses were impacted positively, bolstered by bulk purchasing and abnormal buying patterns.

About four-fifths of the respondents in the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector reported the second-highest levels of business disruptions from COVID-19, led by the used motor vehicle parts and accessories industry (84.1%). These businesses noted that the impact to their sales was caused by the closure of non-essential operations.

Respondents reported that the COVID-19 pandemic caused sales to lower by $6.2 billion (unadjusted) in March. In dollar value, the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector was the most impacted by COVID-19, with an estimated $2.3 billion (unadjusted) loss in sales.

< Return