Distribution methods vary by type of product. For industrial equipment, raw materials and commodities, manufacturers use non-stocking commissioned agents, while stocking agents represent high volume items. Agents will often insist on exclusivity due to the small size of the country. Most consumer goods are sold through importers and distributors, but increasingly large retail chains and department stores import directly without intermediaries. In most cases, distribution firms serve the entire country.
Roughly 40% of Israel's 7.5 million people are concentrated in the greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area, Israel's commercial and financial center. Other major concentrations of the population are the Haifa metropolitan area (15%), a major port city and center for the petrochemical and high tech industries, and Jerusalem (11%). Almost all goods are imported through Israel's two Mediterranean ports, Haifa in the north and Ashdod in the south, and through Ben Gurion International Airport. These ports have good transportation links to the rest of the country. While most companies are headquartered in the Tel Aviv or Haifa metropolitan areas, a growing number of firms maintain branches, showrooms, or service facilities in Jerusalem and Beer Sheva.
Consumer malls and shopping centers are popular in Israel. Over 200 malls and shopping centers exist and others are planned. Many American specialty shops, chain stores, and franchises have their outlets in malls and shopping centers. Key to success is offering an increasing variety of new products and services to the Israeli consumer.