Digitization is an important trend that has affected the construction industry on many levels. For example, the growing use of BIM is changing the construction process and the increase in online orders is affecting purchasing channels. Digitization will also affect the ways in which construction professionals gather information about products and solutions, which means that the media channels used by manufacturers to market building materials and products can also be used.
That is why we often interview suppliers about what media channels they use to gather information and focus on construction products and markets. In a previous article, we discussed a virtual trade fair that seemed to be a digital alternative to a physical trade fair that had been canceled due to a pandemic. What about the use of contractors by other media channels? Is it possible that there is also a trend towards digitization or a lack of pandemic effect? This is what we interviewed 950 vendors in Europe about the Q4 2021 report on USP Marketing Consultancy’s Contractor Monitor, which focuses on media orientation of vendors from eight European countries.
The use of suppliers’ media channels has not changed much in two years
The use of the six media channels included in our study by European suppliers has not changed much in two years. For example, the proportion of suppliers who cite the use of websites or manufacturers’ representatives as sources of information is still 90%. Similarly, the share of suppliers using brochures from manufacturers, wholesalers’ websites and digital newsletters in 2021 is the same as in 2019.
Regarding media channels that show a change in use, the share of suppliers looking for exchanges has decreased significantly. As we mentioned in the previous article, this is due to COVID-19 bans. Other changes of use are relatively subtle. The use of specialist magazines seems to have declined somewhat, while wholesale representatives have been more busy in the last two years. Meanwhile, the share of entrepreneurs using social media has increased from 49% in 2019 to 57% in 2021, and the most significant increase is seen in the use of mobile applications, from 46% to 59%.
Digitization or non-digitization?
As already mentioned, the changes are not or are more serious and at first sight do not reflect the trend of digitization in media use. Sure, the increase in mobile application and social media use can be seen as evidence of the digitalisation of media use, but it is easy to link this increase to a pandemic.
If you look at what vendors expect in the future, this picture will change. The use of digital media, such as the websites of manufacturers and wholesalers, digital newsletters and especially mobile applications and social media, is more often expected to be increased by suppliers. In the meantime, traditional media such as brochures from manufacturers, trade magazines and print newsletters are often expected to decline. These expectations revealed a slow transition from traditional to digital media.
Although the trend of digitization is less visible in the above-mentioned development of media use by European entrepreneurs, it is important to realize that the ethics and behavior of these entrepreneurs may differ from country to country. To find out where the trend towards digitization is stronger or which countries have traditional origins as more sustainable, we refer you to the Q4 2021 Supplier Monitoring Report from USP Marketing Consultancy.