Study Shows Technology Use By Electrical Contractors Way Up

OK distributors, listen up.

Contractors are talking, and they are using their smart phones and tablets to do it.

A brand new study published by EMA Contractors, a specialty group of Eric Mower + Associates, found that contractors use of smart phones on the jobsite jumped 35% in the last year.  And if you think that is a big jump, you should know that the use of tablets, like iPads, jumped 54% over last year.

The survey broke down the results by specific field, so we know specifically how electrical contractors are using their smart phones in 2013 compared to 2012.  One of the big changes is 48% of electrical contractors use their smart phones as part of the purchasing process in 2013.  In 2012, that number was just 14%. “Dramatic increases in only one year is profound,” John O’Hara of EMA Contractors told tED magazine. “And I don’t think people really understand all the implications for distribution, sales and marketing.”

The survey shows 52% of electricians us a portable laptop on the job, while 66% use their smart phone. And when it comes to purchasing decisions, 48% of electricians use their smart phone to look for products.   On top of that, when it comes to purchasing decisions for tools, materials or equipment, 66% of electricians will visit a company’s website to check out what is available.

“We asked the contractors ‘which technology do you think is growing the fastest in terms of usage in your field,” O’Hara said. “And 72% of them said smar tphones. So the contractors themselves think that is going to continue to increase, and I would guess that we will continue to see dramatic numbers increase.”

This information comes out just three months after a Hybris study released in November of 2013 asked 200 electrical distributors about their online presence.  Of the 200, 2 had no website at all, 8 had websites that were “under construction” and 84 had websites but no way to allow a electrician to buy any items online.  The increased use of smart phones and tablets will force distributors to have their websites perform purchasing capabilities and have complete data.

As for this year, electricians believe they will be using their smart phones and tablets even more.  68% say they will increase their online business transactions by anywhere from 5%-25%.  64% say that is because smart phones and tablets make it easier to stay connected with distributors, 44% say using them also makes it easier to work with distributors and 50% say their use of smart phones and tablets makes an electricians’ job faster and easier.

The electricians said the only thing that is slowing down even more of them using technology to find tools, equipment and supplies is the cost of technology.  “Cost was their number one frustration,” O’Hara said. “But with the costs on many of these technologies declining, I think high adoption rates will continue.”

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