Industry insights are an important component to planning for any manufacturer, and especially important for those who service specialty channels like residential and commercial integrators. Understanding the pulse of dealers and frontline personnel is critical to informing decisions on products, services, and personnel decisions.
In February, URC launched a research tool to understand industry and company dynamics as well as outlook from the vital members of the community who work with end-users. This project is part of an annual check-in and provides insights into a point-in-time, namely Q1 2022, and trends building over the past three years. Results were returned in March with some similar shifts to general forecasts and summaries in the industry.
Some of the themes create an interesting picture of industry sentiment. Here are a few highlights:
- Respondents project a strong residential market that shows some signs of softness with levels near pre-pandemic times — 67 percent or dealers forecast growth in 2022, which is down from 2021
- The light commercial market is showing signs of progress in 2022 with 52 percent forecasting growth, which is up from 2021
- Given some industry headwinds, 2023 residential and light commercial market optimism is soft
- Overall dealer optimism about their businesses is also soft as the industry experiences headwinds
- Dealers see System Upgrades (32 percent) and Networking (27 percent) as Top 2022 Growth Drivers, which is similar to our 2021 results
- Smart home automation and control headwinds are led by DIY and consumer education/awareness of control and automation systems
- Dealers believe manufacturers should use the following marketing channels to reach end-users (ranked in order of most popular down): Social Media, Public Website, SEO, Videos, Email
- Printed catalogs and brochures remain important sales tools
- 53 percent of respondents agree that a showroom is very important
- 78 percent support “A Virtual Experience” to sell control and automation systems
- Attending live/in-person industry tradeshows remain important with 65 percent of dealers supporting them — slowly building back to pre-pandemic levels
- Top eight drivers of dealer loyalty are as follows (ranked by importance):
- Technical Support
- Innovative Products (Hardware and Software)
- Territory Exclusivity
- Provide Active Field Support
- Provide Leads
- Manufacturers Who Advertise
- Manufacturers Active in Social Media
Results were received in March 2022 and comprised of 122 survey responses from among URC’s domestic U.S. dealer community.
For more information on URC’s product and services, visit http://urc-automation.com.
Ron Pence is URC’s marketing lead and member of the senior leadership team. Under Pence’s leadership, URC has launched virtual experiences, created marketing automation platforms, expanded social engagement campaigns, retooled digital presence assets, and launched over 75 new products and partner integrations.