What’s ahead for electronics distributors in 2022

Dave Doherty is president at Digi-Key Electronics. Digi-Key is both the leader and continuous innovator in the high service distribution of electronic components and automation products worldwide, providing more than 12.6 million components from over 2,000 quality name-brand manufacturers.

2021 has been a whirlwind of a year, bringing both new challenges and opportunities to the high service distribution industry. Here’s a look at what made this year one for the history books, how the industry addressed 2021’s challenges, and what may be around the corner in 2022.

Supply & Demand Upheaval

The past year brought many challenges to the electronic components industry. While there may still be some challenging times ahead, orders will likely begin to return to more realistic levels in late 2022 as customers find more breathing room.

Even throughout these unpredictable market conditions, distributors like Digi-Key have weathered the ups and downs by continuing to invest in strategic initiatives to expand warehouse capacity, localize the customer experience both digitally and from a support standpoint, scale digital offerings and web services and expand into new markets, in order to continue serving customers around the globe with the best possible purchasing experience.

Rising to the Occasion

Suppliers in every niche of the market deserve recognition for their performance over the past year. In 2021, suppliers have gone above and beyond, identifying new, innovative ways to increase their supply and provide customers with the parts they need.

We are proud to work with suppliers who truly understand the importance of their products to the engineers and makers around the world who are creating innovative projects every day.

Digi-Key believes in a digital-first approach, and is always developing new ways to make it easier for our customers to engage digitally from anywhere around the globe, including localizing their experience in markets around the world with local language, currency and support hours, as well as fast shipping times.

Today, Digi-Key supports 26 local currencies and does business in 21 local languages – something that will continue to grow along with the business.

Looking Ahead

In many ways, the industry is cyclical – the demand and challenges from this year will likely come back around again in new forms in the future, so the key is to be better prepared with the new building blocks that were put in place over the past year.

Digi-Key has increased its investments in infrastructure and other innovations to scale capacity to keep up with skyrocketing demand, including the new Product Distribution Center expansion in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, more robust and predictive web search functionality, Digi-Key Marketplace, higher inventory levels and increased automation in the Digi-Key warehouse, which all benefit customers by providing an easy and efficient research, shopping and delivery experience.

These investments have helped Digi-Key, its suppliers and customers weather the storm of 2021, and leaves all parties well positioned for 2022. We are looking forward to the innovation of our customers that will come in 2022, and are excited to enable the world’s ideas.