Preview: Top Distributors Report Modest Outloook

April 27, 2016
The industry’s largest distributors of electronic components stay focused on building business in a tough economic climate, according to our 2016 Top Electronic Components Distributors report, due out May 2.

The industry’s largest distributors of electronic components experienced a modest growth year in 2015 and most anticipate similar conditions this year, although some are pointing to a slightly improving marketplace as 2016 gets into full swing. This is the general tone of Global Purchasing’s 2016 Top Electronic Components Distributors report, which ranks some of the largest companies serving customers in North America and around the world according to global sales volume. The report will be released online at on Monday, May 2.

Roughly half of the companies in this year’s list reported a sales increase in 2015—an average 6%. The other half reported flat or lower sales in 2015—an average 7% decline for those reporting lower sales. Weaker conditions in the Americas were offset by improving business in Europe and elsewhere around the world for some companies. Europe has been a bright spot for TTI Inc., for example, while China has been a source of growth for Digi-Key Corp., despite overall slowing economic growth in that part of the world.

“We’re building a little bit better momentum coming off of 2015,” Michael Knight, senior vice president, Americas, at TTI said in an April interview for this year’s report. “[2015] was a challenge in North America, but we were really pleased with our results in Europe and in Asia. We continue to see good things happening in Europe.”

Digi-Key said it is reaping the benefits of investing in China over the last few years. The distributor developed a local presence in the region by opening its first branch in China in late 2013.

Avnet’s Gerry Fay, president of the company’s global electronic components business, pointed to similar experiences for the once-again top-ranked company on our list.

“In general, we see continued strength in Europe. The Americas is a bit sluggish, and in Asia we are seeing the same [conditions] as last year—overall growth but at a slowing rate,” Fay said in a March interview for this year’s report.

In addition to Avnet ranking first again this year, Arrow Electronics once again took the number two spot. Be sure to check back on Monday, May 2, to see how the rest of the 2016 Top Distributors list shaped up. In the meantime, access last year’s report here.

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About the Author

Victoria Kickham | Distribution Editor

Victoria Kickham is the distribution editor for Electronic Design magazine, SourceESB and, where she covers issues related to the electronics supply chain. Victoria started out as a general assignment reporter for several Boston-area newspapers before joining Industrial Distribution magazine, where she spent 14 years covering industrial markets. She served as ID’s managing editor from 2000 to 2010. Victoria has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree in English from Northeastern University.