When it comes to wiring accessories, installers want products that are as simple to fit as possible. Marie Parry, marketing director at Scolmore Group, looks at the sector and how it needs to keep evolving to meet these requirements and the implications for the electrical wholesaler.
Expected to be worth £1.8bn by 2018 according to AMA Research, the UK wiring accessories market is a mature one, with the product mix remaining fairly stable in recent years. As a mature and sizeable market, the forecasts for electrical accessories are for relatively slow and steady growth of 1-3% per annum until 2020, in line with relatively subdued forecasts for construction as a whole, following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Key influencing factors on the market include legislation on energy efficiency and carbon emissions, which has seen increased use of integrated systems spreading throughout domestic and commercial markets to provide greater control for heating, lighting and all electrical systems.
The current focus is on integrated solutions and systems within the electrical accessories market and this trend will continue to feed demand in the medium term, as well as an increased use of pre-fabricated and modular wiring assemblies that make installations easier and quicker.
Modularity equals flexibility
The whole area of wiring installations continues to evolve, with one of the key words today being modularity. It is not necessarily about new and exciting finishes, it’s about flexibility and functionality and incorporating multiple modules into one plate – media modules, USB ports, HDMI outlets – and ultimately being able to create bespoke installations to suit individual requirements.
The modern home is now more than simply a home. It doubles up occasionally as a cinema, concert hall, meeting venue, computer room and office and each of these functions brings unique requirements in terms of the provision of necessary services such as telephone or satellite sockets, as well as the myriad different electrical and electronic products that we have in our homes.
Traditionally, products such as telephone and TV coaxial sockets have been all supplied built into a standard size wall plate. The environment in today’s office and home however, requires a number of services to be provided to a specific work station or convenient access point. The most flexible and efficient means of doing this is the use of modules on a multiple aperture plate.
By offering modular switch plates as standard; manufacturers can facilitate the quick and easy creation of virtually any switch plate design required. With such a wide range of modules available, contractors and installers have total flexibility to quickly and easily customise bespoke designs and solutions on site, assembling up to as many as 24 different switching functions on a single plate if required.
Modular wiring’s flexibility means that there is no minimum project size and it is easier for contractors to take on bigger projects than they might otherwise do. From single room solutions to the largest multi-million pound new-build hospitals, for example, systems can either be retrofitted or newly installed to provide users with safe, reliable and convenient power and lighting services.
As the evolution of the smart home gathers apace, the market is witnessing a continued increase in the appetite for smart technology from end users. Whilst this advance is bringing significant business opportunities for switched on electrical contractors and installers, there is reluctance on the part of some installers to fully embrace this new technology as it is deemed too complicated to install and they are therefore unwilling to upsell to customers. Those wholesalers who are on board with the latest products and technologies are in a prime position to be able to help educate the contractor and boost business opportunities for all parties.
Manufacturers are playing their part in trying to educating installers and wholesalers by offering training courses to develop their knowledge, skillset and confidence.
With the right wiring accessory products it is now easier than ever for installers to provide an upgrade to an existing wiring installation with minimal disruption. Smart switches are helping to provide the answer. Here are three scenarios which we regularly come across as typical problem areas encountered by installers, where smart switches can provide a solution.
Adding an additional switch to an existing light without the need for cabling. This can be done by fitting a switching module behind the light fitting you wish to activate (for example in the bathroom) and then add a switch controller to a convenient place in the bedroom. The bathroom light can now be easily turned on from the comfort of the bedroom.
The problem of continuous flickering when you switch on one of your lights with a rotary dimmer can be easily overcome using a multi-functional dimming receiver and a retractive switch. Replace the wired rotary dimmer with the retractive switch and add the receiver to the light fitting. This will instantly stop any flickering that may have occurred.
Introduce two-way dimming control from separate locations (wired). By using a multi-functional dimming receiver and two retractive switches, you will be able to dim from both locations, for example, at the top and bottom of the stairs.
Wiring accessories account for a significant element of the overall investment in any electrical installation infrastructure and installers will be in favour of those products which, by being quick and easy to install, will not only save them time on the job, but will also save them money. By keeping up to date with the latest developments and taking advantage of the increasing opportunities for training being offered by manufacturers, wholesalers too can take advantage of this opportunity to increase revenue.
Article can be viewed here: https://content.yudu.com/web/69r/0A19ww8/EWSept2017/html/index.html?page=34
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