Late in August, 2019, the trade publication Electrical Wholesaling released its 2019 Top 200 Electrical Distributors report. In addition to naming the biggest suppliers in the field, this report covers product launches, company news, and analysis of the market in general.
With all these details, there’s plenty of actionable data in this year’s Top 200 report. We combed through the report to identify the broader narratives that may interest electrical distributors of all sizes, in addition to contractors, manufacturers, and others in the electrical-material supply chain.
Here are a few key takeaways from the latest Top 200 Electrical Distributors Report, courtesy of Electrical Wholesaling’s research:
- Generally, 2019 was a good year for the largest electrical distributors in the United States. The Electrical Wholesaling survey that informed the report got 105 responses from companies that consider themselves “full-line electrical distributors.” Among those 105 respondents, average sales per employee soared to $693,580 in 2019, compared to $631,950 the previous year. The takeaway? Sales are good, at least for the big players.
- Broader negative economic indicators don’t seem to have hit electrical suppliers. The numbers for 2019 aren’t in yet, so we’re still dealing with estimates and projections. But of the distribution leaders who responded to the Electrical Wholesaling survey, more than half (53 percent) said they expected company growth over the year to fall within the range of 4 to 9 percent. Thirty percent of respondents expected to see double-digit growth by the end of 2019.
- There’s still plenty of business out there for smaller-scale operators. Distributors who didn’t make it onto the Top 200 list can take some consolation in the fact that, according to Electrical Wholesaling estimates, the companies in their report only gobbled up about 51 percent of overall electrical material sales. The North American market was worth around $58.5 billion, leaving nearly $29 billion up for grabs among smaller distributors.
- Leaders on the Top 200 are always on the hunt for efficiency-enhancing tools to offer their customers. The editors of the report asked their respondents which product launches really excited them over the year. While less than 40 percent of them responded with a specific product by brand, there were three types of electrical goods that most respondents mentioned improving markedly: smart load centers that track energy use, adjustable LED lighting, and — the subject that concerns BHS, Inc. — electrical material handling equipment designed to save time and improve safety in the field.
Perhaps 2019’s most important lesson for electrical supply distributors of any size is that the industry is changing faster than ever. Investments in ergonomic equipment that allows the team to accomplish the same number of tasks in ever shrinking intervals of time will provide the competitive edge that electrical distributors need to claim their share of the market—and maybe even make it to the 2020 Top 200 list.
Lucy, Jim. “2019 Top 200 Analysis.” EWWeb. Informa USA, Inc., 6 Aug. 2019. Web. 16 Oct. 2019.