UK Installers use the most purchase channels
The B2B installation products market used to be dominated entirely by the three step distribution model, from manufacturer to wholesaler to professional customer. Although the position of the traditional specialised installation wholesaler is still dominant, indicating a more conservative market, other purchase channels like pure online players or direct purchasing from manufacturers have been gaining ground.
We have been monitoring these changes over the past years, and given the impact of them on the entire market, we have dedicated the Q3 2019 report of USP’s European Mechanical Installation Monitor to purchase channels. The results of 900 interviews with installers from six European countries show that UK installers use the widest variety of channels.
That UK installers are omni-channel users, at least more so than installers from the other countries, is shown by the fact that the percentage of UK installers’ usage was highest in four out of the six purchase channels we distinguished.
Traditional specialised wholesaler
The traditional specialised wholesaler is the only purchase channel of which the relative usage is lower in the UK than in all other countries. With 90% of UK installers using this channel, the dominance of the specialised installation wholesaler is still clear and present. However, comparing with for instance Poland, where installers’ usage of specialised installation wholesalers is 99%, it becomes clear that this more traditional channel is on the decline in the UK.
Traditional building products wholesalers
This does not mean the decline of traditional channels entirely, however. Almost half of the UK installers buy at traditional building products wholesalers, for instance, which is the highest percentage of all countries. About a quarter of UK installers buy at traditional hardware stores, and about a third at DIY stores, respectively the second highest and highest percentages of all countries. When comparing this with Germany, where about one fifth of the installers buy at traditional building products wholesalers, less than one tenth at traditional hardware stores, and about one in twenty at DIY stores, it becomes clear that UK installers indeed use a wider variety of channels.
The same is shown by the usage of the newer channels, like direct ordering at the manufacturer or buying at pure online shops. Almost half of the UK installers order products directly from manufacturers, the highest percentage of all countries. Similarly, more than a third of the UK installers report to also purchase products at pure online shops, which is 10% more than the runner up, and a staggering 28% more than in France where installers use pure online shops the least.
The above shows that UK installers are omni-channel users indeed. The result of this purchasing behaviour is seen in the share of wallet dedicated to the various purchase channels. The highest percentage of the budget, around 60%, is still spent at the traditional specialised wholesaler, but in the other countries this share lies around 80%. Consequently, compared to the other countries, the share of wallet of the other five purchase channels is highest in the UK. For more detailed information we refer you to the Q3 2019 report of USP’s European Mechanical Installation Monitor.
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