Difference between Distributor and Wholesaler

Key difference: Distributors and wholesalers supply products, but a distributor supplies the product to the wholesaler and the wholesaler to the consumer.

A distributor is the one who distribute the products from the manufacturer to the respective authorities.  It is an entity that buys non-competing products or product lines, warehouses them, and resells them to retailers or directly to the end users or customers in a business. They supply the goods directly to the stores or other businesses that sell to the consumers. These are intermediates between the producers and consumers. They distribute the products through channels, which are interdependent organizations and which are designed by the firms in a proper path-organization.

Thy also provide strong manpower and cash support to the supplier or manufacturer's promotional efforts. They also provide a range of services such as product information, estimates, technical support, after-sales services, and credit to their customers. They maintain exclusive buying agreements that limit the number of participants or enables distributors to cover a certain territory.

A wholesaler in a business is a person or firm that buys large quantity of goods from various producers or vendors, warehouses them, and resells to retailers. They sell the products and/or goods in a bulk amount. The rates at which they sell the products are the basic wholesale rates.

Generally, they are someone who buys large quantities of goods and resells them to merchants rather than to the ultimate customers. They act as a middleman that buy merchandise from a third party supplier and resells the merchandise to retail businesses or the end consumer. They take the products from the distributors and sell to the retailers; they acquire merchandise such as telephone, mobile, computers, bicycles, clothing, televisions and furniture. They are not in direct contact with the customers. They basically sell the goods and product to the retailers.

Comparison between Distributor and Wholesaler:




Who are they

An agent who supplies goods to stores and other businesses that sells to consumers.

An agent who purchases and sells the products in bulk from either original suppliers and/or other channel intermediaries, charging a margin for their services.


The distributor serves both, the retailer and the wholesaler.

The wholesaler serves only to the respective users.

Link between

They are a link between the manufacturer and the retailer.

They are a link between the producer and the distributor.

Type of products sold

They may sell similar types of products.

They typically supply a huge range of contrasting products.

Buys from

They are the one, who directly buys the products and goods from the manufacturer.

They probably sell the goods to the consumer.

Storage of goods

They do not store the goods, they directly distribute them.

They store the goods and products.

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