Digitalisation is affecting the purchasing channels through which electrical installers buy installation products. This trend has even allowed whole new pure online players, shops that only sell online, to enter the market. However, as we saw in a previous article, European installers only spend 2-3% of their budget at these web shops, while spending three quarters at traditional specialised installation wholesalers and about a tenth directly at manufacturers.

So much so for the digitalisation of purchase channels in the installation market, one might conclude, but that is not the case. Digitalisation does not only allow new players to enter the market, it also changes the way installers purchase products at the more traditional purchase points. That is evident in the Q4 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Electrical Installation Monitor, for which we asked 825 electrical installers from seven countries about their purchasing behaviour.

Ordering online is already the norm in some countries

The digitalisation trend clearly manifests itself in the way installers order. Looking at the traditional specialised wholesalers, the purchase channel at which European installers spend the lion’s share of their budget, a quarter of installers’ purchases are already ordered online through wholesalers’ web shops or apps. The other three quarters of installers’ purchases are ordered traditionally, either instore or at a distance through phone, email or sales reps.

A quarter of purchases at specialised installation wholesalers ordered online clearly shows the importance of web shops and apps for this purchase channel. These are European averages, however, and there appear to be massive differences between countries. In Spain and the UK, installers prefer to order traditionally, as purchases are only ordered online by seven and eight percent of installers respectively.

On the other side of the spectrum, Dutch installers seem to embrace online ordering the most, as a whopping three quarters of their purchases from specialised wholesalers are ordered online. They are followed by Belgium, where about half of installers’ purchases are ordered through specialised wholesalers’ web shops or apps. In these two countries, ordering online has clearly become the norm.

Manufacturers should be aware of the power of web shops   

Knowing how installers order is essential for manufacturers and brands whose installation products are sold through this channel, as the success of their sales and marketing strategies may depend on it. Facilitating sales through web shops, for instance by supplying the right product details, descriptions and imagery to easily give your products a good appearance on a web shop, may have a positive effect on sales in areas where online ordering is common.

At the same time, manufacturers should be aware of the power of a good web shop for installers to order products directly from those manufacturers. As mentioned, about a tenth of European installers’ budget is spent purchasing directly from manufacturers. Almost a third of those direct purchases from manufacturers are already ordered online through their web shops or apps, and that share is expected to increase.  

 Like with the other purchase channels, there are major country differences in the shares of online purchasing directly at manufacturers. For those details and an overview of purchasing behaviour of installers from seven major European markets, we refer you to the Q4 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Electrical Installation Monitor. 

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