Last month Electrical Trends conducted the quarterly Pulse of Lighting Survey. Over 200 individuals from the electrical distribution channel – electrical distributors, manufacturer reps, lighting agents, and manufacturers – participated.

Highlights included:

  1. Distributors, manufacturers, and reps reported high-single-digit growth, with distributors reporting the highest percentage, however, their reporting includes their margins whereas the other audiences are based upon their COGS.
  2. This MSD was a modest acceleration in sales growth from Q3 Pulse of Lighting Report findings, which could relate to energy-oriented (rebate) programs or the need to complete projects by the end of a year.
  3. 73% of the distributors reported growth of more than 5%, which is more than reported similarly in Q3
  4. The market is still driven by small to mid-sized projects, but there are starting to be more “new” projects in these segments. The large project pipeline is very geographic, and sporadic, in nature.
  5. Brands seem to be taking share from unfamiliar brands. The big reason is inventory and “trust.” The smaller companies are more impacted by supply chain issues.
  6. Distributor backlogs are strong. Some customers are buying in advance of price increases. In many instances, it is the supply chain issue.
  7. All audiences expect price increases in Q1 and companies such as GE Current have already announced price increases for lamps as well as fixtures. There is also a significant difference between “announced” price increases and “realized” price increases.
  8. Distributors are seeking alternatives to support their customers due to supply chain delays so that projects can be completed. Much like the adage “cash is king,” nowadays “inventory is king.”
  9. In looking towards 2022, the lighting channel is expected “high-single digit” growth with several respondents expecting double-digit growth. The growth is expected to be driven by price increases, warehouses, data centers, a stronger economy, education, healthcare, and new products, according to respondents. But there are concerns … the same ones as 2021 – supply chain, price increases, COVID, and its impact on the economy.

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