In the past we’ve conducted research about the European electronics media that has given clients and publishers a better view of the way that European engineers obtain information about products. For our latest project, we decided to look at the way distributors are perceived by engineers and purchasers in Europe. This has been a fascinating project for me, as during my career I used distributors when I was an engineer, worked for a distributor and also worked for a manufacturer with an extensive distribution network.

Our research looks at the popularity of distributors by region, allowing comparisons to be made between local distributors, pan-European organisations and global players. Some of the key findings from the research include:

  • Stock availability is the most important factor in selection of a distributor – cited as being even more important than price, and the customer’s relationship with the distributor’s salesman the least important factor.
  • Customers believe that pan-European distributors with local resources gives them the best service. Interestingly a global player was more popular than a centralised pan-European distribution model. Only 16% believe that a local distributor that operates only in their country would give them the best service.
  • Almost everyone found distributor’s marketing materials useful, and unsurprisingly catalogues and websites were identified as the most useful marketing information. One interesting result was that email newsletters had caused more people to contact a distributor than printed newsletters, maybe Europeans are slowly giving up their love of print!
  • Two thirds of the respondents buy online from distributors’ websites, with half of these buying production quantities online.
  • We are currently finalising our summary and full reports. If you would like to get a copy of one of these reports, please email me.