17 Grainger Competitors and Alternatives [As of 2023]

Founded as a wholesale electric motor sales business in 1927, William Wallace Grainger (W.W. Grainger, Inc) is now a leading distributor of products and maintenance and repair services, severing businesses in various sectors. 

The company offers a broad range of products, from safety and security equipment tools to plumbing supplies and general maintenance products. They are a one-stop solution for businesses’ MRO (maintenance, repair, and operating) needs. 

Grainger has a strong distribution of network to provide their customers with quick access to products and value-added services like inventory management, consulting services, and safety training. Most of its revenue is generated from business-to-business sales instead of retail sales.  

While Grainger’s primary market is North America, it has also expanded its operations in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia through its international operations and partnerships. 

It has consistently been ranked as one of the largest companies in the US. Its financial performance has been strong in recent years. In 2022, the company reported sales of $15.2 billion, serving more than 4.5 million customers worldwide. 

It also faces tough competition from online retailers, public and private label brands, and numerous local and regional distributors. Below, we have featured the top Grainger competitors in the industrial supply sector. 

9. Applied Industrial Technologies

Applied Industrial Technologies

Founded in 1923 
Headquarters: Ohio, United States

Annual Revenue: $4.31 billion+
Number of Employees: 6,100+

Applied Industrial Technologies is a value-added distributor and tech solution provider of industrial motion, fluid power, automated technologies, and related maintenance supplies. 

It provides a range of products, from power transmission components and industrial rubber products to general maintenance and repair supplies. It primarily serves manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, food processing, and transportation industries. 

The company operates about 600 facilities across the world, which include strategically located distribution centers and service centers. 

Unlike Grainger, Applied Industrial Technologies has a more specialized produced focus, with a strong emphasis on fluid power products, bearings, industrial rubber products, and power transmission components. 

The company distinguishes itself by offering ancillary services like application engineering, inventory management solutions, maintenance services, and customized training programs. 

8. Amazon Business 

Amazon Business 

Launched in 2015 
Services: Shipping, returns, financing, and more

Annual Revenue: $4 billion+
Customers: 5 million+ businesses 

Amazon Business is a division of Amazon.com specifically designed to cater to the needs of businesses and organizations. It includes products from Amazon’s own retail businesses, as well as products and services from third-party sellers. 

The platform features tens of millions of products and supplies, including office supplies, electronics, automotive, furniture, health and personal care products, and educational supplies. They are available at bulk discounts and free shipping options. 

This specific division of the company generates revenue through three major sources: sales of products and supplies, subscription fees, and advertising.  

The annual revenue ($4 billion+) is still relatively small compared to Amazon’s overall revenue ($524.897 billion+). However, Amazon Business is expected to continue to grow in the years to come. 

The major factors behind its growth include the increasing adoption of eCommerce by small businesses, the growing demand for B2B products and services, and Amazon’s strong brand name. 

7. Rexel

rexel

Founded in 1967
Headquarters: Paris, France

Annual Revenue: $20.5 billion+
Number of Employees: 26,000+

Rexel operates in the electrical distribution market, providing a broad range of products and services. More specifically, it distributes electrical equipment, wiring devices, automation and control systems, renewable energy products, electrical installation materials, lighting solutions, and data communication solutions. 

The company operates through a network of branches, distribution centers, and digital platforms to serve customers across the world. It has over 19,000 points of sale in 24 countries. 

The group has a significant presence in Europe, North America, and the Asia-Pacific region. 

In terms of revenue, their growth has been impressive — the operating profit (5.2%) and net income margins (4%) have improved year over year. This performance is primarily driven by the growth of the electrical industry and the company’s focus on digital transformation. 

6. Graybar

 
Founded in 1869
Headquarters: Missouri, United States

Annual Revenue: $10.5 billion+
Number of Employees: 9,400+

Graybar is one of the leading distributors of electrical, communication, and data networking equipment in North America. It has a rich history dating back to 1869 and has since grown to become a prominent player in the supply chain management and electrical distribution industry. 

Their product catalog includes electrical and telecommunication equipment, power distribution systems, security systems, lighting solutions, renewable energy solutions, security systems, and automation products. 

The company has more than 300 locations in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. It serves a diverse customer base, from small electrical contractors and commercial businesses to large industrial companies and government institutions. 

Unlike W.W. Grainger (which is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange), Graybar is an employee-owned company, with its employees owning a significant portion of the company’s shares.

5. Screwfix

ScrewfixScrewfix store in Stratford-upon-Avon | Wikimedia

Founded in 1979
Headquarters: Yeovil, England

Annual Revenue: $3 billion+
Number of Employees: 14,000+

Screwfix is a leading UK-based retailer of hardware tools and accessories. This includes hand tools, power tools, workwear, safety equipment, decorating supplies, building materials, and bathroom and kitchen fixtures.

It primarily serves professional tradespeople, such as carpenters, plumbers, builders, electricians, and DIY enthusiasts. 

The company offers over 10,000 products through its 840 stores in the UK and Germany. It also has a strong digital presence, with a user-friendly website and mobile app that displays product information, reviews, and stock availability. 

Customers can order products online and collect them from their nearest stores within minutes. This enables them to quickly obtain the items and supplies they need, minimizing downtime and improving productivity.

4. MSC Industrial Direct

grainger alternatives - MSC Industrial Direct

Founded in 1941
Headquarters: Davidson, North Carolina

Annual Revenue: $3.99 billion+
Number of Employees: 7,000+

MSC Industrial Direct specializes in a wide range of metalworking and maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) products and services. It offers over 2.2 million products, inventory management, and related supply chain solutions to meet diverse industrial needs. 

Their product catalog includes abrasives, fasteners, machinery, cutting tools, hand tools, safety equipment, janitorial and maintenance supplies, and more. They mostly serve to metalworking, construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, and transportation industries. 

In order to deliver these products efficiently and minimize downtime, the company operates through a network of strategically located distribution centers across the United States. It has 75+ delivery centers in the US, 15+ in Canada, 10+ in Mexico, and 15+ in Europe. 

In terms of customer base, MSC Industrial Direct serves metalworkers, manufacturers, construction professionals, and other industrial clients. W.W. Grainger, on the other hand, has a broader customer base that includes various industries, institutions, and individual consumers. 

3. Fastenal

Fastenal

Founded in 1967
Headquarters: Minnesota, United States

Annual Revenue: $7.13 billion+
Number of Employees: 22,300+

Fastenal Company is one of America’s largest industrial and construction supplies distributors. In addition to tens of millions of products, it offers various services, including inventory management, vending, and machining. 

The company is known for its industrial vending solutions that provide customers with automated dispensing machines for tracking and managing the usage of tools and supplies. This helps businesses reduce consumption, optimize invention control, and improve efficiency. 

It operates over 3,330 branches and onsite locations across the United States, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and Asia. 

Moreover, Fastenal has invested in its own manufacturing facilities in the US to develop specific fasteners and common industrial products, supporting local manufacturing capabilities.   

2. HD Supply

HD Supply

Founded in 1974
Headquarters: Georgia, United States

Annual Revenue: $7.5 billion+
Number of Employees: 12,000+

HD Supply is a well-established and respected company with a long history of providing high-quality products and services to its customers. It serves more than 500,000 professional customers in various sectors, such as MRO, water infrastructure, construction, and specialty construction. 

The MRO products include hand tools, electrical products, and safety supplies. The company also provides a comprehensive range of water and sewer products, including pipes, valves, meters, fittings, and related equipment. 

HD Supply also focuses on improving customers’ operations and enhancing their experiences. It offers several value-added services like specialized project support, inventory management solutions, and technical expertise. 

It operates across the United States and Canada, with a network of distribution centers and showrooms strategically located to serve customers effectively. 

1. WESCO International

Wesco

Founded in 1922
Headquarters: Pennsylvania, United States

Annual Revenue: $22.01 billion+
Number of Employees: 20,000+

WESCO International is the largest distributor of electrical, industrial, and communication products. It serves a broad range of customers across industries, including commercial, institutional, and utility sectors. 

The company also offers supply chain management and logistics services, helping customers optimize their procurement processes and inventory management. These services include just-in-time delivery, integrated supply, and vendor-managed inventory. 

WESCO puts a strong focus on energy and sustainability solutions — its products and services promote energy efficiency, renewable energy adoption, and sustainable building practices. This includes solar power systems, energy management systems, lighting solutions, and consulting services to help customers minimize energy consumption and environmental impact. 

Unlike W.W. Grainger, which has a broader product range and global presence, WESCO International specializes in electrical, industrial, and communications products. It primarily operates in the US and has a global reach with operations in over 50 countries. 

Other Big Competitors of Grainger

10. Würth

Founded in 1945
Headquarters: Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Annual Revenue: $21.91 billion+
Number of Employees: 85,600+

Wurth is a family-owned company led by the third generation of the Würth family. It started as a small wholesale business for screws, and over the decades, it has grown into a multinational corporation with a vast product catalog.

Today, it distributes screws, fasteners, chemicals, electronic components, automotive hardware, chemicals, furniture and construction fittings, installation materials, and storage and retrieval systems. These products are mainly used in manufacturing and MRO applications. 

The major factor behind Würth’s success is its vast and efficient distribution network. The company has a strong presence in 80 countries, with subsidiaries and sales departments in each region. 

11. Lawson Products

Founded in 1952
Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois

Annual Revenue: $351.6 million+
Number of Employees: 1,700+

Lawson Products is an industrial distributor of maintenance and repair supplies. It’s a privately held company, well-positioned for continued growth in the future. 

It operates primarily in North America and caters to customers of all sizes, ranging from local businesses to multinational corporations.

The company’s product catalog includes cutting tools, abrasives, hand tools, safety supplies, and much more. It sources its products from a network of trusted manufacturers and suppliers, ensuring quality and reliability. 

They have also developed a user-friendly eCommerce platform that allows customers to conveniently browse and purchase items online. This platform has all the essential features, including product comparisons, personalized shopping lists, order tracking, and access to technical documentation. 

12. Airgas 

Founded in 1982
Headquarters: Pennsylvania, United States

Annual Revenue: $11.6 billion+
Number of Employees: 18,000+

Airgas supplies industrial, medical, and specialty gas, as well as related equipment, safety products, and services. It operates as a subsidiary of Air Liquide, a global leader in gases, technologies, and services for industry and healthcare. 

The company’s product portfolio includes industrial gases like nitrogen, hydrogen, helium, oxygen, and specialty gases used in research, calibration, or analysis. It also provides welding and safety equipment, consumables, and hard goods.  

It has more than 1,100 retail locations in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Europe. 

Airgas is growing at a CAGR of about 10%. The growth is primarily driven by the company’s investments in its eCommerce platform as well as strong demand for industrial, medical, and specialty gases from businesses of all sizes. 

13. DXP Enterprises

Founded in 1908
Headquarters: Houston, Texas

Annual Revenue: $1.58 billion+
Number of Employees: 1,650+

DXP Enterprises is a professional distribution management company that provides a range of products and services through its innovative pumping solutions and supply chain services. 

Its vast product portfolio includes pumps, bearings, fluid handling systems, electrical supplies, power transmission equipment, and various other industrial components. 

The company operates through a network of strategically located service centers, warehouses, and branches. It has over 25 locations across the United States.  

14. Ferguson Enterprises

Founded in 1953
Headquarters: Virginia, United States

Annual Revenue: $28.5 billion+
Number of Employees: 36,000+

Ferguson Enterprises is a distributor of HVAC, waterworks, and industrial products. It provides pipes, fittings, faucets, fixtures, hydrants, valves, heating systems, air conditioning units, ventilation components, refrigeration equipment, and utility infrastructure solutions. 

These products attract a wide range of customers, especially contractors, builders, facility managers, and industrial professionals. 

Ferguson Enterprises has over 36,000 associates and 1,720 locations across North America. This extensive network places the company within 60 miles of 95% of its customers in North America. 

Over the past few years, the company has taken numerous initiatives emphasizing recycling programs, waste reduction, and eco-friendly packaging solutions. 

15. Motion Industries

Founded in 1946
Headquarters: Alabama, United States

Annual Revenue: $8.4 billion+
Number of Employees: 9,100+

Motion Industries is an American distributor of industrial parts and industrial technology. It operates both the MRO replacement parts market and the OEM market. 

The company has over 600 locations, 19 distribution centers, and 67 repair and service centers across North America. 

It offers instant access to more than 10.5 million unique MRO and OEM components through its extensive distribution network, sourced from a global manufacturing base. 

This includes bearings, mechanical power transmission products, hydraulic parts, process pumps, material handling products, gasket products, and safety supplies. 

It also offers value-added services, including inventory management and repair and fabrication services, to help customers efficiently run their businesses.  

16. Winsupply

Founded in 1956
Headquarters: Alabama, United States

Number of Employees: 1,400+

Winsupply is a wholesale supplier of materials for residential and commercial construction. It owns a majority equity stake in 610+ local firms across the US.

They have a diverse range of products across several categories, including HVAC, plumbing, industrial pipes, waterworks, pumps, irrigation and landscape supplies, and more. 

The company invests in advanced eCommerce platforms and supply chain management systems to increase operational efficiency and enhance the customer experience. It aims to streamline processes, provide real-time inventory information, and enable seamless online purchasing and tracking capabilities. 

In terms of financial performance, they have a strong balance sheet and a solid record of growth and profitability. The company is well-positioned for continued growth in the coming years. 

17. Crescent Electric Supply Company

Founded in 1919
Headquarters: Illinois, United States

Annual Revenue: $580 million+
Number of Employees: 2,000+

Crescent Electric Supply Company is a family-owned electrical wholesale distributor with more than 150 branches across 28 states in the United States. 

It’s a great resource for contractors, maintenance professionals, and institutional and industrial customers who need electrical products and services. 

The company specializes in distributing electrical products, such as lighting fixtures, switches, outlets, lamps, electrical wiring, transformers, motor controls, circuit breakers, and programmable sensors and actuators. 

It also offers energy-saving solutions, project management assistance, inventory management, training programs, and customized solutions tailored to specific customer needs. 

More to Know

What sets Grainger apart from its competitors?

W.W. Grainger stands apart from its competitors in several ways. For instance, 

  • It offers a vast catalog of millions of products from thousands of suppliers,
  • has a robust distribution network with strategically located branches and distribution centers,
  • has a global reach with operations primarily in North America, the United Kingdom, and Japan. 

In addition to these competitive benefits, Grainger offers fast and reliable shipping, easy returns, and extensive customer support through its website, phone, and email channels. 

The company also offers value-added services like inventory management solutions and consulting services, which help small businesses streamline their operations, optimize inventory, and increase productivity. 

How big is W.W. Grainger? 

Grainger is a part of the Fortune 500 companies, serving more than 4.5 million customers worldwide with innovative technology and deep customer relationships. 

Its financial performance has been strong in recent years. In terms of size, it has

  • over 24,200 employees,
  • 250+ locations in the United States and 50+ in Canada,
  • offers over 1.5 million products, including MRO supplies and material handling equipment, and
  • has a market capitalization of over $38 billion

In 2022, the company paid out $2.9 billion in dividends and repurchased $1.2 billion in shares. In fact, it has increased its dividend payout for 50 consecutive years. 

Industrial Distribution Market Size

The global industrial distribution market size will reach $11.93 trillion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 4.3%. The North American region dominated the market in 2023, and the trend is expected to continue for the next decade. 

Why you can trust us?

We thoroughly analyzed over 30 wholesale distributors that offer a broad range of products and maintenance and repair services. It took about 20 hours to do the comprehensive research. Finally, we decided to shortlist 17 reliable alternatives to Grainger based on their distribution network and financial records. 

We DO NOT earn commission from any of the featured companies. Furthermore, we have two independent editors who have no influence over our listing criteria or recommendations.

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Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a professional technology and business research analyst with over 10 years of experience. He primarily focuses on software technologies, business strategies, competitive analysis, and market trends.

Varun received a Master's degree in computer science from GGSIPU University. To find out about his latest projects, feel free to email him at [email protected]

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