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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 73% of the distributors reported growth of more than 5%, which is more than reported similarly in Q3
- 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.
- 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.
- Distributor backlogs are strong. Some customers are buying in advance of price increases. In many instances, it is the supply chain issue.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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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