Online Sales Maintain in 2014
Sales transactions via the Web still account for a small percentage -- about five percent -- of the distribution industry's sales in North America. Of the top 50, 26 distributors reported that they offer online buying. However, 18 distributors did not respond to the question.
Nine distributors reported double-digit sales via online purchases. These distributors include Allied Electronics, Cumberland Electronics, Digi-Key, East Coast Microwave, Electronics Supply, Fedco Electronics, Marine Air Supply, Mouser Electronics, and Symmetry Electronics.
Several leading distributors that offer online buying, including Arrow, Avnet, Future, DAC, and Newark element14, did not report the percentage of their revenues derived from purchases via their websites.
However, catalog or high-service distributors continue to drive a bigger portion of their revenues through online sales. Digi-Key's online sales continue to increase, reaching 87 percent in 2014, up from 86 percent in 2013, 85 percent in 2012 and 83 percent in 2011.
Mouser also increased its online sales in 2014. The distributor derived 50 percent of its sales via the Web last year, up from 46 percent in 2013, 45 percent in 2012 and 40 percent in 2011. Allied's online sales increased slightly to 41 percent of total sales, up from 40 percent in 2013, 41 percent in 2012 and 40 percent in 2011. For the second consecutive year, Newark element14 did not report its online sales, although it has averaged about 40 percent of sales from online buying in prior years.
In addition to offering the capability to purchase components online, many leading distributors have bulked up their websites as resource centers for buyers and designers. Many have created microsites that focus on specific applications and end market segments to give component buyers access to the latest information about the newest products in the market.
These websites deliver many services and tools including parametric searches, datasheet downloads, order tracking, saved parts list, real-time stock status, online catalogs, and life cycle notification. They also allow buyers and designers to request quotes and samples. They also provide training videos and design tools.