Commodity Group Description
Electrical products are found in almost every aspect of our lives, from the wiring and fixtures that light
and power our homes and offices to the complex circuitry in our vehicles and computers to the factory floor
lighting and machine controls used to manufacture all of the products we buy and use. So many activities are
supported by electricity and electrical products; we almost take these products for granted. Lighting, heating,
cooking, driving, processing, communicating, building and manufacturing all become possible through the support
of electricity and the products that harness and control it. Since the use of electrical products is so widespread,
and the market so large, distributors tend to logically break the sector down into manageable groups or sub-markets.
Those sub-markets include the Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Hospital, School and Utility markets.
For the purposes of this Commodity Spotlight, we will focus on the Industrial market and how its Maintenance
Repair and Operating (MRO) requirements are supported by electrical product distributors.
Once the market segment has been refined, a sharper focus can be placed on the main categories of products
used within this arena. Electrical products used to support the Industrial market can be broken down into six main,
yet still very large, product categories.
LIGHTING: including lamps (light bulbs and fluorescent tubes), light fixtures, ballasts and lighting controls.
DISTRIBUTION EQUIPMENT: including circuit breakers, transformers, switchgear and busways.
WIRE, CABLE and CONDUIT: including building and machinery wire and metal (EMT and galvanized), PVC, liquid-tight and flexible conduit.
CONTROL AND AUTOMATION EQUIPMENT: such as industrial computers and controllers, man-machine interfaces, safety equipment, and motor control centers.
DATA COMMUNICATIONS: such as wiring, cabling, terminals, connectors, hubs, and routers.
TOOLS and SUPPLIES: including batteries, safety equipment, tools, tape, and thousands of other products.
The 2011 forecast of electrical product sales through full line distributors is projected to increase by 5% to $84.1 Billion after an increase of 0.9%
in 2010 and an estimated decline of over 20% in 2009. The Industrial market accounts for 19.4% of the overall distributor sales or $16.3 Billion
Top Industry Users (MRO) ii
Refining (chemical and petroleum products)
Pulp & paper
Ammunition and arms manufacturing
Key Items in the Commodity
lighting equipment; wire and cable; fittings; connectors; terminals; conduit and wiring devices; motor controls; hazardous locations equipment;
sensors; programmable logic controllers (PLCs); circuit breakers and fuses; switchgear; fiber-optic cabling and other datacom products;
power conditioning equipment; signaling equipment; building management systems; machine-vision systems; bar coding equipment and electricians' tools and supplies.