Voltimum research reveals optimism surrounding business benefits of IoT and growing demand for e-commerce

Electrical professionals across Europe believe smart products are the future of the industry, with further sales support needed to meet demand

The boom in connected devices coming into the workplace will be the future of the electrical industry but further work is needed to help professionals sell the products, according to research from Voltimum <http://www.voltimum.co.uk/> , the digital media business and sales enabler for the electrical industry.

The study of 7,151 electrical professionals across Europe examined the industry’s perception of the Internet of Things. It found that 71% of respondents believe that in the future, electrical installations will centre around smart connected products. However, despite the optimism over smart products there is more support needed from manufacturers as 59% of respondents said they found it difficult to sell devices to end customers and 48% of respondents reported a lack of good sales support from manufacturers.

Respondents predicted that the smart products that will have the biggest effect on the industry will be internet connected monitoring systems (74%), devices that can be controlled by smartphone apps (73%) and building automation systems (71%).

The research also found that the prospect for online sales in the electrical industry is extremely bright. 85% of respondents expected online purchasing to increase or stay at a constant, with half (50%) saying they will buy more online in the next two years. It also revealed that the biggest driver of online sales in the electrical industry is not price or discounts on products (according to 50% of respondents), but the speed and ease of delivery (74%).

Information channels

The trend towards moving online is also reflected in the research sources being used by electrical professionals, with the top five information channels all being online. Online product reviews (used by 76% of respondents) lead price comparison sites (used by 67% of respondents) as the most used channel.

Despite this shift towards online sales, wholesalers are expected to remain the key channel for purchases in the electrical industry in the next two years. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63%) expected to buy through wholesale outlets at least occasionally in the next two years, despite the growth in online shops (32%) and manufacturer websites (36%) – which have boomed by more than a third (36%) in the last two years. Additionally, contractors and installers in Germany, the UK and Italy stated they were just as likely to use a general or electronics web shop as they were to use a wholesaler web shop.

Wolfgang Schickbauer, CEO of Voltimum, said: “Our research highlights the exciting and promising times that lie ahead for the electrical industry, as businesses continue to embrace the Internet of Things revolution. The industry is increasingly shifting towards online sales and, while it’s clear that people in the industry are seeing the huge potential in connected devices, manufacturers and sales teams need to keep up to pace to ensure businesses can capitalise on the opportunity.”