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Room for direct approach in selling to electrical installers

Between a third and half of the electrical installation companies in Europe do (in a certain degree) buy products directly at the manufacturer. In the latest edition of the European Electrical Installation Monitor, available now, USP Marketing Consultancy provides full insights in the (future) usage of, and attitude of electrical installers towards buying directly from manufacturers. The research, covering 7 European countries (Germany, France, UK, Spain, Poland, The Netherlands and Belgium) is based on 1.075 telephone interviews with electrical installers.

Wholesale preferred distribution channel, but also room for a direct manufacturer approach

The majority of the European electrical installers rather does business with their wholesalers than dealing directly with manufacturers. Nevertheless between a third and half of the installers, at the moment does buy directly from manufacturers in some degree. This share is highest in Germany (50%) and lowest in France (34%). The actual spending through this direct channel is much lower, with shares within total spending between 9% in France and 20% in Germany.

Installers buying directly are positive about this way of purchasing

Price and a better offer stand out as a reason for installers to purchase installation products directly from manufacturers in all countries. Furthermore it is interesting to see that German and Spanish installers mention more advantages than those in other European countries. When actually looking at these direct buyers it is also interesting to see that a large share does not mention disadvantages when buying direct. Installers who do mention disadvantages are not aligned on what they perceive to be negative.

Installers not buying directly at manufacturers are mainly hesitant because of wholesaler related aspects, like loyalty, price arrangements and width of the assortment.

Product group

Looking at the products bought most directly at manufacturers by electrical installers, lighting & luminaries is always within the top 3. In Germany smart products and access control are often bought, while these products are not in the top 3 for all other countries. 

Importance of distribution channel research

Two years ago USP already made an inventory on the size of all distribution channels (traditional wholesale, pure online, direct buying from manufacturers, DIY) with regard to electrical installation products. Also then, it became clear that there is room for alternatives to the traditional wholesale channel. Important question for e.g.  manufacturers, is how these different channels will be able to exist (next to each other), in order to make solid decisions on their future distribution strategy. Therefore USP Marketing Consultancy now dives deeper into direct buying at the manufacturer, while next year one of the themes will be buying through pure online channels.