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News I published 22 March 2022

Pure online shops used by many installers, but not for much

In a previous article, we connected digitalisation in the construction and installation sectors with increasing BIM usage among electrical installers. The trend of digitalisation does not only manifest itself in the changing construction process, however. It also changes how and where installers buy their installation products. Aside from new ways to order products from the old and familiar purchase channels, the digital playing field allows whole new players to enter the market.

The prime example are pure online shops, webshops that do not have physical selling points and sell solely through their website. These webshops are also active in the electrical installation market, either by having some installation products in their range or even as specialised installation webshops.

Measuring the popularity of these pure online shops among electrical installers is hugely important for manufacturers and brands. No matter how good your marketing, if your products are not available at the purchase channels installers use, they will not be sold. That is why, for USP Marketing Consultancy’s Q4 2021 European Electrical Installation Monitor, we questioned 825 electrical installers from 7 countries about their usage of pure online shops.

Pure online shops used by many installers

Of every five European installers, two report to use pure online shops to buy electrical installation products, which is quite a substantial amount. There are very large differences between countries, however. In France, Germany and Poland, less than a quarter of installers use pure online shops, whereas that share is well over half in the Netherlands. Pure online shops are clearly most popular in the United Kingdom, where over three-quarters of electrical installers use them to buy installation products.

But not for much

As said, 38% of European installers report using pure online shops for installation products. When split per type of shop, about a quarter of all European installers shop at installation-specialised pure online shops, while also a quarter reports buying installation products at non-specialised pure online shops. Those shares say something about the popularity of those shops among installers, but nothing about how much money they actually spend there.

When looking at what share of their budget electrical installers actually spend at pure online shops, they do not seem so popular anymore. Only 2% of European installers’ budget is spent at non-specialised pure online shops and only 3% at installation-specialised pure online shops. This share of wallet is not much, to say the least, especially compared to the specialised wholesalers, where European installers spend a whopping three-quarters of their budget.

Conclusion

Pure online shops may seem somewhat popular among European electrical installers, but the budget they actually spend there is very low. Even after two years of pandemic, which helped e-commerce in general. That does not mean pure online shops should be ignored by manufacturers, however. Like we saw with installers’ usage of pure online shops, there are significant and sometimes surprising differences per country where it comes to share of wallet spent there.

To give example, the share of wallet electrical installers spend at pure online shops in Poland, one of the countries with the lowest usage is the second-highest in Europe. This shows that to properly estimate how important the pure online channel is for your products, a more detailed look at specific areas is necessary. For that level of detail, we refer you to the Q4 2021 report of USP Marketing Consultancy’s European Electrical Installation Monitor.

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