One of the most popular data resources published annually by Electrical Marketing is our Electrical Product Potential Estimates, which we offer at the state, regional and national level. The chart on page 2 offers our estimates for 17 electrical product categories at the regional level and our state-level estimates are available at www.electricalmarketing.com. by clicking on this link.
We developed the share-of-market percentages for each product category with the help of executives from more than 100 Top 200 electrical distributors in two separate surveys from several years ago. The product percentages correlated closely with several similar surveys done by Electrical Wholesaling magazine over the years for its annual Market Planning Guide, so we think they are a reasonable estimation for the share of total electrical sales accounted for by key product groups.
Many electrical manufacturers, distributors and reps use these product sales estimates to get a sense of market potential in specific regional areas. But manufacturers or reps can also use this data to evaluate the “mind share” their product may have with an electrical distributor.
By product group, some of the most commonly carried electrical products account for a comparatively large piece of the total electrical pie. If an electrical manufacturer’s products aren’t within one of these larger product categories, they are faced with an additional challenge in getting shelf space at a distributorship for their products.
Consider that wire and cable accounts for 13.3% of the typical electrical distributor’s product mix, and that the largest combined product category is lighting at 24.5%, when you add together lamps, lighting fixtures and lighting controls. Another big product category is distribution equipment and switchgear, which together account for 13.3% of electrical sales.
If your company focuses on a product category that accounts for 1% to 2% of a distributor’s sales, you can see the challenge in gaining and increasing mind share with distributors when compared to these larger project categories. That’s where distributor promotional marketing programs and advertising come in.
One caveat when using the data in the chart on this page — while the individual product percentages and the “Percent of U.S.” estimates for the various region of United States are solid and have withstood the test of time, the sales estimates themselves are based on the new national sales forecast in Electrical Wholesaling’s 2021 Market Planning Guide, which came in at a rather bullish +7.3% increase after a -1.6% decline in 2020. It boosted our estimate for total industry sales through electrical distributors to $126 billion. As a point of comparison, DISC Corp., Houston, is forecasting a +4.8% increase for 2021 after a -9.4% decline in 2020.
Electrical Wholesaling’s 2021 national sales forecast feels a point or two high, and it pushed industry sales up from our 2020 total sales estimate of $117.4 billion. You can tweak the sales forecast a bit and work the percentages from there if it feels high to you, too.