Research released by the Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA) shows that in-person support offered by wholesaler trade counter teams is still a highly valued resource for electrician and contractor customers, despite the proliferation of ecommerce channels. This is just one of the findings in the EDA’s Sector Survey 2019, the Association’s latest piece of substantial research.
Manufacturers, wholesalers and contractors were asked to share their views on six themes: biggest business challenges; product quality and new competitors; quality, price and validation; ecommerce attitudes; challenges of digitalisation; and information channels.
Ecommerce channels dominated the results, presenting the biggest concern for wholesalers, with contractors and manufacturers more troubled by issues surrounding product availability, quality and price. A significant disconnect occurs between wholesalers and contractors on the subject of price: 88% of wholesalers said their customers asked for the lowest price even if the brand was unfamiliar, with 80% of contractors declaring the opposite.
Margaret Fitzsimons, CEO at the EDA, comments, “The survey results, analysis and commentary will spark discussion and dialogue along the three-step supply chain, as businesses wrestle with the challenges and opportunities presented by ecommerce and the buying habits of millennial contractors and electricians.
“Wholesalers have an opportunity to leverage their trusted-intermediary status, providing vital support to their customers as part of a multi-channel presence that also delivers the high levels of service and efficiency that we are all so used to as consumers.
“There is also trepidation about the quality and reliability of products available on the market, particularly the unfamiliar names, with all three audiences scoring high levels of concern.
“The results provide interesting topics on which the industry can work together, and we look forward to collaborating with trade associations above and below us in the electrotechnical supply chain.”
The EDA Sector Survey 2019, which includes comments from the EDA’s President, Chris Gibson, and the CEOs of ECA, BEAMA, the LIA, and the British Cables Association, is available to download from www.eda.org.uk and is also published in the EDA’s Yearbook, which is available from mid-October.