Knowing where electrical installers buy their installation products is essential for manufacturers and brands active in the installation market. Attention to detail is vital here, as became clear in a previous article in which we discussed installers’ usage of pure online shops. We saw that even though the pure online purchase channel is used by many installers, they do not actually spend much of their budget there.

But what about the other purchase channels? Where do installers spend most of their budget on installation products? And what factors influence their purchasing behaviour? For the Q4 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Electrical Installation Monitor, we asked 825 electrical installers from seven countries about their purchasing behaviour.

Specialised wholesalers remain the favourite purchase channel

Of all the purchase channels used by European electrical installers, the traditional specialised wholesalers are the clear winners. Almost every installer buys installation products at specialised wholesalers and they spend a whopping three quarters of their budget there on average. This is the case in all countries in the scope of this research, with one exception. In Germany, ‘only’ 83% of installers use traditional specialised wholesalers, where they spend ‘only’ 64% of their budget, making the specialised wholesalers the winners still.  

After the specialised wholesale purchase channel come the manufacturers, where almost half of installers purchase installation products directly, but where only 9% of installers’ budget is spent.

The rest of the purchase channels show an image similar to the pure online shops we discussed earlier. They are used by a fair share of installers, but only a tiny fraction of their budget is spent there.

Company size matters though

Looking at the share of wallet installers spend at certain purchase channels, the division in most countries is pretty similar to the above average. A major part of budget is spent at traditional specialised wholesalers, a minor part purchasing directly from manufacturers, and only fractions are spent at the other purchase channels. However, when we compare companies of different sizes instead of from different countries, more interesting differences appear.

Large installation companies tend to purchase directly at manufacturers more often than the smaller installation companies, for instance. When focusing on smaller installation companies on the other hand, a significantly larger than average share of wallet is spent at DIY stores, which installers find convenient for small purchases such as consumables or spare parts.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, for a sales strategy based on purchase behaviour of electrical installers to be successful, attention to detail is vital. The above shows that the value of purchase channels for brands and manufacturers of installation products can differ per area and can depend on the size of the installation companies. In the Q4 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Electrical Installation Monitor, we give a full overview of electrical installers’ usage of, spending at and experience with a variety of purchase channels in seven major European markets. 

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