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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Study: Contractors Will Shift Back to Pro Dealers

Contractors will trend back to pro dealers and away from big-box stores for building supplies as the economy improves. That’s according to a recently-released report of a December 2010 survey conducted by L.E.K. Consulting.  500 contractors from across the country were surveyed.

Because contractors are losing out on bids due to price, 53% of respondents said they are purchasing the same products and brands, but at less expensive retailers and distributors.

But the survey shows contractors expect to shift back to pro-orientated channels by 2013.  That's in nearly every trade category, and the greatest shifts are expected in roofing, carpentry, paint, siding, drywall, windows and doors.

Although price is very important in this economy, “durability remains the most important product selection factor as contractors want to prevent costly customer callbacks and avoid added or unexpected installation time driven by inferior products.”  Product availability is also a consideration.

While the survey shows contractors are loyal to brands and willing to find more affordable channels to purchase those brands, there seems to be a preference for the type of channel chosen.  L.E.K. found contractors “value two steppers and one steppers more than broadline and big box options.”  (This was determined by measuring a willingness to pay a price premium for a channel’s attributes.)

L.E.K. says the survey results show OEMs need to continue investing in contractor partnerships and education programs.  They also need to keep focusing on product reliability and durability.  But as homeowners are becoming more involved in product selection, consumers need to be addressed as well.

At Wisconsin Building Supply, we take pride in serving as a resource for contractors.  We’re always interested to find out how you make your purchasing decisions.  Thank you for choosing Wisconsin Building Supply.