Survey Results Outline Electrical Contractors' Use of Technology
During the summer of 2015, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) conducted a study with the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) to gather data about how electrical contractors use technology.
Electrical contractors use a variety of technological devices at work, including 84 percent who have smart phones or web-enabled phones, a decrease of 5 percent from 2014, according the survey.
The survey also found that 95 percent of respondents use desktop computers (a decrease of 4 percent from 2014); 59 percent use tablets, and 36 percent use mobile phones for calls or texting only (both increases).
When searching for information about electrical products online, respondents said they continue to use search engines and manufacturers’ websites most often, followed by distributors’ websites, other websites and smart-phone apps.
Respondents said they are most likely to use product manufacturers’ websites on a weekly basis (46 percent, an increase of 6 percent from 2014), then monthly (31 percent), daily (12 percent) and less than once a month (11 percent). Users of electrical distributors’ websites are split evenly weekly (31 percent, which is down 2 percent from 2014), and weekly, monthly, less than once a month (32 percent each).
Regarding the type of activities contractors typically do online when searching for electrical products or information, respondents are most likely to download product specification sheets (84 percent), which is up 31 percent from 2014. Contractors also look at pictures of products (75 percent), get technical drawings (74 percent), search an online catalog (72 percent), research products or applications (69 percent) and download application and installation guides (64 percent). Other activities include reviewing general information, checking prices or requesting quotes, downloading MSDS information and receiving technical support.
The survey also found areas where improvement was needed, according to contractors. The top five most frustrating tasks when searching for electrical products online include: manufacturers’ websites from poor search capabilities; difficulty finding what you’re looking for when searching a catalog; and lack of matches unless the matches are exact. Download 2014 v. 2015 Comparison (PPT)
The top five important tasks contractors do online: download product specification sheets; download application and installation guides; get technical drawings; search online catalog for a products by description, product category, brand name, and/or partial part number; look at pictures of products.
For more information on NAED and the Technology Task Force, visit www.naed.org.
For more information on NECA, visit www.necanet.org.