According to in-house research conducted by EC&M in early 2015, nearly two-thirds (64.06%) of the 543 electrical contractors responding to a purchasing practices survey said they currently buy electrical products online. For more details, read the special report, "Point, Click, Purchase."
Skewed heavily toward smaller residential and commercial contractors with between one and four employees, the survey revealed that these decisions, including which brands to buy, are being mainly driven by the owner, partner, or president (72.18%) of the firm — due to the fact that they typically have final authority over purchases. When asked to name the greatest motivating factor behind purchasing electrical products online, several answers were close in rank, including price (36.31%), convenience (29.23%), and selection (26.46%).
Electrical contractors who are buying online are checking out an array of products, but the biggest movers seem to be concentrated in the comparatively “low-tech” area. From a list of 26 broad product categories presented, respondents were asked to identify any and all they were most likely to purchase online. Far and away, the most popular response was luminaires, named by nearly 62% of respondents. This is hardly a surprise, given the growth and maturation of the LED lighting market and the heated competition among global manufacturers and distributors. Let’s take a look at the top 15 product categories purchased online in descending order.