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Available to download now - EDA state-of-the-sector research findings

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

Article by EDA

Research released by the Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA) shows that in-person support offered by wholesaler trade counter teams is still a highly valued resource for electrician and contractor customers, despite the proliferation of ecommerce channels. This is just one of the findings in the EDA’s Sector Survey 2019, the Association’s latest piece of substantial research.

Manufacturers, wholesalers and contractors were asked to share their views on six themes: biggest business challenges; product quality and new competitors; quality, price and validation; ecommerce attitudes; challenges of digitalisation; and information channels.

Ecommerce channels dominated the results, presenting the biggest concern for wholesalers, with contractors and manufacturers more troubled by issues surrounding product availability, quality and price. A significant disconnect occurs between wholesalers and contractors on the subject of price: 88 per cent of wholesalers said their customers asked for the lowest price even if the brand was unfamiliar, with 80 per cent of contractors declaring the opposite.

Margaret Fitzsimons, CEO at the EDA said:

"The survey results, analysis and commentary will spark discussion and dialogue along the three-step supply chain, as businesses wrestle with the challenges and opportunities presented by ecommerce and the buying habits of Millennial contractors and electricians. Wholesalers have an opportunity to leverage their trusted-intermediary status, providing vital support to their customers as part of a multi-channel presence that also delivers the high levels of service and efficiency that we are all so used to as consumers. There is also trepidation about the quality and reliability of products available on the market, particularly the unfamiliar names, with all three audiences scoring high levels of concern. The results provide interesting topics on which the industry can work together and we look forward to collaborating with trade associations above and below us in the electro-technical supply chain.”

The EDA Sector Survey 2019, which includes comments from the EDA’s President, Chris Gibson, and the CEOs of ECA, BEAMA, the LIA, and the British Cables Association, is available to download from and is also published in the EDA’s Yearbook which is available from mid-October 2019.


About the Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA)

Serving and representing the UK’s electrical wholesale sector for over 100 years the Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA) is a membership organisation for the UK’s electrical wholesale sector. Launched in 1914 as the Electrical Wholesalers’ Federation (EWF), the Association refocused and rebranded in 1998 as the EDA.

Membership is available to wholesalers, whilst manufacturers can join as affiliated members. The EDA currently has over 240 wholesaler members and 80 affiliated members, who are suppliers of products or services. Membership includes the leading national wholesalers Edmundson Electrical Ltd, Rexel UK and CEF as well as hundreds of independent electrical wholesales businesses of all sizes, most of whom are members of the UK’s largest buying groups ANEW, AWEBB, Fegime UK and the IBA.

Benefits of membership include:

  • Networking Events

  • Training & Apprenticeships

  • Business Advice and Information

  • Initiatives, Campaigns and Projects

  • Recognition, Visibility and Exposure

The EDA’s Training & Apprenticeship Programme is twofold: apprenticeships and the City & Guilds Accredited EDA Product Knowledge Programme 12 modules. Each module is standalone distance-learning training course, comprising a hard-copy Textbook and a digital End of Module Assessment (EDA). The EDA appointed the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) to manage the Programme.

In 2011 the EDA partnered with EDA Apprenticeships Plus to offer comprehensive and flexible apprenticeship service for the Associations’ members and affiliates. The menu of services includes all recruitment, HR and mentoring support and can be tailored around the needs of the business. Managers benefit from ready access to apprenticeship expertise and support to help navigate the training and funding landscape. In addition, EDA Apprenticeships Plus offer levy management services to larger businesses.

The EDA has been a member of the European Union of Electrical Wholesalers (EUEW) since


The EDA represents an estimated 75-80% of the UK electrical wholesale industry.



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