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European Electrical Installation Monitor: professional usage of apps

Apps play, for most of us, an important role in our day-to-day mobile usage. In the early days, mobile apps were offered mainly as productivity and information retrieval tools. Nowadays this market has rapidly grown to include communication, utility, social networking, games and much more. In 2017, an estimated 2.8 million apps are available via google play store and 2.2 million apps in the Apple store. A staggering 150 billion apps were downloaded worldwide in 2016. These markets have grown rapidly due to availability of developers tools and the increasing users demand. The professional usage of apps is a different story altogether. In this article, I would like to focus on professional app usage by electrical installers. The results are based on the European electrical installation monitor (multi-client, quarterly research on 7 European countries based on 4,800 telephone interviews with electrical installers) by USP Marketing Consultancy. Most manufactures offer apps to help the electrical installers with technical information and calculation. Wholesalers tend to offer apps for searching products and placing orders.

App usage

With the exception of the Netherlands and Spain, a majority of the installers do not use apps for professional purposes. This article zooms in on the comparison between France and The Netherlands due to the fact that French electrical installers use apps professionally the least and Dutch electrical installers use apps professionally the most. The results are based on the European Electrical Installation Monitor Q1 2017, theme ‘Media Orientation & Consumption’.

Electrical installers in France seem to be less likely to use apps professionally than in the Netherlands. 36% of the French electrical installers use apps for professional purposes. In comparison, 59% of the Dutch electrical installers use apps for professional purposes. When asked about their preference for the type of app from a manufacturer, it appears that in general one app from one manufacturer containing all relevant information would be most appreciated. For France, this is 50% and for The Netherlands, this is 63%. However, about 21% of the French electrical installers prefer multiple apps per topics from one manufacturer. For the Netherlands, 18% of the Dutch electrical installers prefer multiple apps.

Why are apps being used professionally?

If apps are used for professional purposes, it mainly  has to do with searching for technical product information (France 34%) or placing orders (The Netherlands 29%).

Also there are some points of improvement, according to the French electrical installers. Electrical installers in France would like to see more technical product information, when using an app professionally (43%). The Dutch electrical installers seems to be satisfied with the information, when using the apps. Almost none of the electrical installers has any points of improvement.

The importance of professional usage of apps for manufacturers

The professional usage of apps by electrical installers has been growing over time. Based on the Q1 2017 media orientation report, it’s clear that there are strong local differences and preferences.

I would expect the usage of apps for professional purposes will continue to grow, even in a very traditional segment like electrical installation. Not only the usage will grow, but the way apps are used will likely follow the trend seen in the private usage of apps. These application are already on the market (Design apps, instruction video’s, 24/7 support, training, calculation and so on). Almost all major manufactures offer apps that go beyond providing technical information or improving the ordering process.

There are of course major benefits for manufacturers and wholesalers with regards to the apps they provide. Most importantly, it provides another touchpoint with the installers and could contribute (if the app works properly) to brand loyalty and brand preference.

More information about this topic can be read in the European Electrical Installation Monitor Q1 report, theme ‘media orientation & consumption’. The European Electrical Installation monitor covers many more media outlets and results per country. For example, we have information about a wide variety of information sources usage like: Social media, traditional media, personal media, new media and radio channels.