Wholesale Industry Survey

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    The Wholesale Industry Survey is one of the rotating economic censuses/surveys linked to the Australian National Accounts within the ABS economic statistics strategy, and is in general conducted once every 6 years. The survey directly collects detailed financial information on the operations of Wholesale businesses in the public trading and private employing sectors of the Australian economy.

    For the 1998-99 collection, the feasibility of supplementing the directly collected sample with Australian Taxation Office (ATO) data to produce estimates for employing businesses was actively investigated. A decision not to proceed was reached following advice that there would only be marginal improvements to SE's, but such an exercise would involve significant increases to resources.

    The main objective of the Wholesale Industry Survey (project 124) is to compile timely and high quality statistics for inclusion in National Accounts estimates. The survey provides detailed industry level data for the following purposes.

    • detailed expense data is collected to provide reliable benchmark data, with information from the Economic Activity Survey used to extrapolate for the years between the wholesale collections. This information is required to derive input structure estimates for wholesaling activity.
    • commodity sales information is collected to enable the compilation of deflators. Specifically, commodity data are used to determine which price indexes are required and the weights to be used to combine them. The deflators are used to derive volume measures of turnover (which feeds into GDP(P)).
    • margins data is collected to provide the 'bridge' between sales/output at basic price and consumption/input at purchasers' prices. Accurate margins information enables the balancing of input and output data.

    Secondary objectives of the survey are to provide information for:
    • market research and analysis by, for example, consultants, the wholesale industry, wholesale associations (i.e Hardware Industry Federation); and
    • providing feedback to the Business Register on employment and ANZSIC data for the benefit of Business Register based collections.

    The scope of the Wholesale Industry Survey includes all employing public and private businesses in Australia, recorded on the ABS Business Register with a predominant activity of wholesaling i.e Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) Division F.

    Non-employing groups were not covered or included in the survey, however some non-employing businesses (Management Units) were included on the frame (these were generally part of a personally profiled group).

    Approximately 4.500 business units were selected using stratified random sampling techniques. Wholesaling units selected in the Economic Activity Survey (EAS) sample formed a subset of the Wholesale Industry Survey sample (100% overlap). All businesses (Management Units) with 50 or more employees and/or multi-State wholesaling business units were selected in the sample.


    Conceptual framework
    The Wholesale Industry Survey draws its population from the ABS Business Register. It is one of the rotating Economic Censuses/Surveys linked to the Australian National Accounts within the ABS economic statistics strategy.

    Main outputs
    Wholesale Industry Australia (ABS Cat No. 8638.0)

    Contains estimates detailing the number of wholesale business units; employment; wages and salaries; turnover; profit; gross product and selected operating ratios -- classified by industry. Also details the value of total sales by wholesale business units classified by commodity item.

    Using the Australian & New Zealand Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), businesses are classified to Wholesale stratification industries.

    Basic Material

    4511 Wool
    4512 Cereal Grain
    4519 Farm Produce and Supplies
    4521 Petroleum Product
    4522 Metal and Mineral
    4523 Chemicals
    4531 Timber
    4539 Building Supplies n.e.c

    Manchinery & Motors

    4611 Farm and Construction machinery
    4612 Professional Equipment
    4613 Computer
    4614 Business Machine n.e.c
    4615 Electrical and Electronic Equipment
    4619 Machinery and Equipment n.e.c
    4621 Cars
    4622 Commercial Vehicles
    4623 New Motor Vehicle Part
    4624 Motor Vehicle Dismantling and Used Parts

    Personal & Household

    4711 Meat
    4712 Poultry and Smallgoods
    4713 Dairy Produce
    4714 Fish
    4715 Fruit & Vegetable
    4716 Confectionery and Soft Drink
    4717 Liquor
    4718 Tobacco Products
    4719 Grocery
    4721 Textile Products
    4722 Clothing
    4723 Footwear
    4731 Household Appliances
    4732 Furniture
    4733 Floor Coverings
    4739 Household Good
    4791 Photographic Equipment
    4792 Jewellery and Watch
    4793 Toy and Sporting Goods
    4794 Book and Magazine
    4795 Paper Products
    4796 Pharmaceutical and Toiletry
    4799 Wholesaling n.e.c.


    The product classification used in the 1998-99 Wholesale collection was formed by aggregating the 1100 or so products in the Input/Output Product Classification (IOPC), taking into account:

    • how products sold by Wholesale businesses are grouped in records
    • National Accounts requirements to comply with the Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP)
    • requirements to comply with the Central Product Classification (CPC)
    • specific product requirements of Information Technology Section

    The classification was produced in conjunction with that for the Retail Activity survey to enable comparison of product information between the two surveys where appropriate.

    Other concepts (summary)
    The Wholesale Industry Survey uses ABS standard data items.

    Data will also be cross classified by the following employment size groupings:
    0 - 19 persons
    20 - 199 persons
    200 or more persons

    New South Wales
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Northern Territory

    Comments and/or Other Regions
    No finer geographic coverage is available.

    6 Yearly

    Frequency comments
    Has varied but generally six years

    Surveys of the wholesale sector have been conducted irregularly since 1968-69, with the last survey in respect of 1991-92. The previous collection to that was for 1981-82.


    Data availability comments
    See section 12.4 for details of data dissemination.

    27/06/2002 07:50 AM