Direct sales over the internet currently generates less than 2% of the revenue for proximity sensors, photoelectric sensors, and limit switches. But use of this sales channel is forecast to grow at an average of 24% annually through 2022. This rapid expansion in the use of e-commerce by proximity sensor suppliers is disrupting market dynamics of a segment that has long been slow to evolve.
Large industrial component suppliers with resources to maintain their own dedicated sales teams typically use a combination of field and inside sales personnel, augmented by manufacturer representatives. Smaller suppliers – that often lack the resources to independently raise brand or product awareness and manage global sales – must rely more heavily on distributors, especially outside the organization’s base region.
E-commerce has the power to democratize the proximity sensor market. Suppliers of any size can use the internet to reach customers directly, thereby reducing the expense and impact of barriers often encountered when targeting new industries and regions. This levels the playing field, allowing vendors to compete on pricing, product capabilities, or related services rather than on the incumbency of well-entrenched suppliers. Greater utilization of this sales channel can also offer other benefits to the forward-thinking suppliers that embrace it. For example, by tracking web-traffic or surveying visitors, suppliers can capture data that can be used to rapidly response to changing customer preferences, required functionality, and future purchasing plans.
VDC expects self-directed, online product research of proximity sensors, photoelectric sensors, and limit switches will more frequently be part of technology buyers’ decision process. Organizations using the internet for sensor evaluation and procurement will expect that product information, including specifications, is readily available. Suppliers and distributors that do not provide these details online increase the likelihood that their products will be screened out of consideration early in the evaluation process – when self-directed research is most common.
How will the expectations and requirements of engineers evolve over the next few years? Which suppliers are in the best strategic position for market growth? VDC’s latest report, 2018 Global Market for Proximity Sensors, Photoelectric Sensors, and Limit Switches
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