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Online ordering possible threat to the specialised installation wholesale

The electrical installation market is very traditional. However, recently purchase behaviour has changed mainly because electrical installers have more purchase channels available. In previous researches, we have seen that the specialised installation wholesale is still dominant in this market.

Looking at the purchase behaviour of electrical installers, which is the topic of the European Electrical Installation Monitor Q4 2019, we clearly see that online ordering has been adopted very rapidly.

A threat to wholesale

In the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, more than 80% of electrical installers buy online. Online ordering has become very popular in these four countries. This could potentially be a threat for specialised installation wholesalers in the future, because relationship building becomes more difficult when installers stop visiting the wholesalers. Especially since relationship building is one of the key corner stones of the wholesale. In Poland, Spain and France, online purchasing is less popular.

Time efficiency is important

Electrical installers mostly buy lighting and luminaries online and the most important reason is because it is either cheaper or saving time. Ordering online offers the possibility to compare sources and they can have it delivered. Especially the time-saving aspect is important. This also explains why online ordering is popular in those four European countries, because labour shortage is the highest in these countries as well. Labour shortage is much lower in Spain and France, so electrical installers are possibly less pressured to start ordering online there.

Wholesale still the most popular channel

We know that labour shortage will not be solved any time soon, which is why we expect this result to continue to increase. One important reason not to buy online is that electrical installers feel a sense of loyalty towards their current point of purchase, which is the specialised installation wholesaler in their area. For example, 92% of Dutch electrical installers order online and most of them order at the specialised installation wholesale (86%). This means that the wholesale is still the most popular channel to buy electrical installation products. On the other hand, 56% of Dutch electrical installers order at pure online stores. In the UK, this is even 76%.

Online purchasing affects the entire industry

In the European Electrical Installation Monitor Q4 2019, we specifically researched online ordering. Purchase behaviour has changed due to online channels. As a result, online purchasing will keep increasing rapidly. Installers who are already used to ordering online, easily start ordering at different channels. For now, most electrical installers still order online at the specialised installation wholesale. However, ordering at pure online stores is already quite popular in some European countries. This development will affect the specialised installation wholesale, but also the industry as a whole.