The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) recently released the results of the 2003 TED Magazine voice/data products survey. The survey examines current distributor involvement in this product area, and compares the 2003 results to similar
studies conducted in 1999, 2000, and 2001. The survey also quantifies top manufacturer lines in some product categories.
The 2003 results show that the percentage of distributors currently selling voice/data products has swung back up to 81% after a dip to 68% in 2001. The departure of many early adopters and the slowdown in the economy are among the factors that account for this fluctuation, said Branton White, NAED senior director of marketing.
Survey results indicate that fewer distributors are new to voice/data. The number of distributors that have handled voice/data products for one year or less has fallen to about 5%. Meanwhile, the number of distributors that have been selling voice/data products for five years or longer is holding fairly steady after a sharp jump in 2000. Also, 81% of surveyed distributors expect voice/data sales to increase over the next two years, with an average expected increase of 30%.
More than 60% of distributors have at least one voice/data specialist on staff, up from 53% in 2000. The average number of specialists rose from 2 to 2.4. Additionally, more than 75% of distributors now offer voice/data training programs to their customers. That number is up from slightly over 50% in 2001.
Distributors in the survey also expressed more confidence about their role in customer buying decisions. Forty percent said they could typically influence the brand of voice/data products purchased at least half the time. In 2001, only 28% of distributors made that claim.
The full results of the survey are currently available online in the "Industry Research" section of the NAED Web site, www.naed.org. The results can be downloaded in PDF format free of charge.