In 2014, the market for online distribution of electrical products was estimated to be worth around £400 million, representing 3% of the overall electrical products market. The market has seen consistent growth since 2008 as use of online purchasing and mobile technology has increased, and as suppliers have developed online offerings.
The distribution network within electrical products is
complex, reflecting a wide range of products and a variety of end users. The
largest distribution channels within online sales are electrical wholesalers
and specialist retailers, while merchants and DIY retailers are also significant
players in this market.
Whilst electrical wholesalers are strong in the sales of
electrical products, their online capabilities are less well developed than
certain other retailers. Internet retailers’ development of strong online sales
platforms has allowed them to gain strength in lighting and appliances in
particular. Electrical Wholesalers’ development of online platforms may be
hindered by the complex discount systems in place within branches, which can be
difficult to implement online.
Important companies involved in the distribution of
electrical products via the internet include Screwfix, Rexel, YESSS, B&Q, Currys, Travis Perkins and a
number of specialist online retailers, particularly those focusing on lighting
Electrical products are increasingly being sourced
online, both by contractors and end users and as such the outlook for
electrical products distributed via this type of channel remains positive. Companies
are also widening the product ranges offered through online channels and
creating special online ranges and promotions in order to promote this type of
distribution and to appeal to a wider audience.
Future growth, while positive, could be limited by the
lack of transactional capabilities of some of the larger wholesalers and the
slow uptake by electrical contractors who tend to remain loyal to local
wholesaler branches and the discounts they offer. In addition, the traditional
buying behaviour patterns of contractors may also delay gains in the Internet
sector over the medium term future.
The market for online distribution may also remain
limited in certain product sectors, such as electrical accessories, where items
are low value, commodity products and distributors hold a constant, high stock
level, providing less benefit to pre-ordering. In addition, growth may be
limited in some sectors by the technical or specialist installation
requirements of certain products, leading to the specialist contractors retaining
their position and often buying through traditional channels.
internet sector is outperforming other distribution channels in terms of growth
and there are increasing opportunities to purchase online as more of the larger
suppliers develop their web and mobile sites” said
Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research. “However,
the rate of growth will depend on the attitudes and opinions of electrical
contractors and their propensity to use the new media.”
In the medium term, the internet electrical products
market is expected to continue to outperform the overall electrical products
market, increasing by 37% between 2014 and 2018 to achieve a market value of
Products Distribution Market Report – Focus on Internet – UK 2014-2018
Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market
research and consultancy services within the construction and home improvement
markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at www.amaresearch.co.uk or by calling 01242