The product mix shows how electrical distributors' sales break down by product group. To use these numbers, multiply your sales figure by each product mix percent to estimate the sales of each type of product. (It is a very rough measure, and the process works better for some types of products than others.) Compare these figures to your own sales by product type to see how your company is doing. By stacking your company's mix up against the ones we give, you can see whether you're in line with other distributors. You can also glimpse where opportunities lurk for specialization and other interesting market insights.

The pie chart on this page shows which product groups are most important — and have the most mind share — to full-line electrical distributors. Lighting, wire and cable and distribution equipment account for 62 percent of the sales of all electrical products. That's an interesting number to consider because it reflects the investment that distributor will make in inventory, sales time and training in these important product areas. This pie chart also shows just how hard it can be for small manufacturers of specialty products in the smaller product categories to gain mind share with distributors when they will naturally focus more of their attention on the products that provide a much higher percentage of their sales.

The pie chart on page 35 shows which product groups are most important — and have the most mind share — to full-line distributors. Lighting, wire and cable and distribution equipment account for 62 percent of the sales of all electrical products. That's an interesting number to consider because it reflects the investment that distributors will make in inventory and sales time in these key product areas. This pie chart also shows how hard it can be for small manufacturers of specialty products to gain mind share with distributors when they will naturally focus more of their attention on the products that provide a higher percentage of their sales.

Electrical Wholesaling's editors get many questions about the Product Mix from readers searching for more detailed product sales forecasts. The magazine does not have more detailed information available because the product categories as listed here are the same as those used on the survey forms sent to distributor respondents to compile this data. Distributors who want to compare their own product mix percentages with other companies may want to work out a mutual data exchange with non-competing distributors who would be willing to break down their sales by these product categories.

PRODUCT MIX
(as a percentage of electrical wholesalers' sales)
2002 National Average
Residential lighting fixtures 3.9
Commercial/industrial lighting fixtures 9.0
Outdoor lighting fixtures, landscape lighting 3.0
Lamps 10.4
Ballasts 3.4
Building wire 7.2
Portable cords and cables, cord sets 2.0
Power cable (including service entrance) 2.1
Busway 0.6
Specialty wire (fiber optic, electronic, voice & data) 1.3
Voice & data, telecommunications equipment 1.2
Terminations, lugs, connectors and accessories 1.1
Tapes and insulating materials, heat-shrink tubing 0.8
Fasteners, hangers and accessories 0.7
Pole line hardware, utility supplies, watt-hour meters 1.6
Metal conduit (rigid and flexible) and EMT 3.5
Raceways, wireway, cable tray 0.9
Nonmetallic conduit 1.9
Conduit and cable fittings, including bodies, couplings, locknuts, elbows, nipples, etc. 2.7
Boxes 1.7
Enclosures 2.1
Panelboards and load centers 4.5
Switches (disconnect, isolation, high-voltage, transfer, etc.) and switchboards 2.1
Switchgear 2.9
Circuit breakers (including GFI) 4.3
Fuses 2.4
Transformers (except ballasts) 2.4
Motor controls, starters and relays 6.2
Programmable logic controllers 1.3
Industrial computers 0.3
Motors and drives 3.3
Wiring devices (including GFI types) 2.9
UPS, computer power conditioning and surge protection equipment 0.3
Energy management systems, controllers, occupancy sensors 0.2
Construction site equipment (ladders, diggers, benders, ground rod drivers, etc.) 0.4
Safety equipment (lockouts, gloves, helmets, signs, padlocks, etc.) 0.2
Hand-held instruments, metering and test equipment 0.5
Tools (power and manual) 0.8
Electric heaters 0.5
Air conditioners 0.1
Fans and ventilating equipment 0.8
Sound, signal, alarm and communications equipment 0.3
Electric generator sets 0.1
Electric appliances, air conditioners, housewares 0.3
Other 2.2
For full-line electrical distributors only; excludes specialists
Source: Electrical Wholesaling survey conducted in 2002.