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How DigiKey is Laying the Groundwork for a Bright Future

Company president Dave Doherty on how the electronic components distributor is growing its customer base, capabilities and offerings while laying the groundwork for a bright future.

DigiKey processes more than 6.5 million electronic component and automation product orders per year.
DigiKey processes more than 6.5 million electronic component and automation product orders per year.

The past several years have presented challenges, as well as opportunities, for DigiKey and our customers. When I take a step back and look at our business, specifically the past two years, we've reached new heights, which is in no small part due to our incredible DigiKey suppliers, partners and customers. We've seen 80% growth and surpassed $5 billion in global sales.

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of DigiKey this year, we should look at how collaborating with our suppliers has impacted our customers' success because, at the end of the day, a distributor does nothing completely alone, and we exist to best serve our customers worldwide. 

While we continue to focus on our core business, we've found new opportunities to partner with our suppliers to offer our customers even more benefits. We're a customer-focused business, so we're always looking ahead and reshaping what service for our customers looks like. 

Leveraging the DigiKey Marketplace

We continue to expand the diversity of our products and suppliers in new product categories with the DigiKey Marketplace. The portal is a single source for innovation, including bare PCB boards, industrial automation, test and measurement and IoT solutions. Marketplace products usually ship within one-to-five days directly from the supplier. 

DigiKey continues to expand the diversity of its products and suppliers in new product categories with the DigiKey Marketplace.DigiKey continues to expand the diversity of its products and suppliers in new product categories with the DigiKey Marketplace.DigiKey

A Seamless Check Out for Customers

Making transactions as seamless as possible for customers is extremely important. Whether a customer is on the DigiKey website or doing additional research directly on a supplier's website when they decide they want to make a purchase, we need to make the checkout process as smooth as possible. We're working with suppliers across our network to ensure no matter where a customer is making a purchase; they have the same user experience. There is a lot of potential here, and we're excited to keep expanding in this area. 

Premier Search Functionality

For the past couple of years, getting parts for electronics was extremely difficult and a pain point for engineers. DigiKey is able to provide a solution. 

Longtime customer Limor "Ladyada" Fried of Adafruit recently shared what a difference this has made for her business. "Sometimes parts are completely discontinued, and I have to look at what is new and available on the market because if I'm going to be doing the redesign, which takes so much effort, I might as well get the newest best thing that I know will last me ten years," Fried shared. "DigiKey search with parametrics lets me find the best fitting components. It's helped me do 300 redesigns in the last two years."

As Limor shared, our search function identifies product alternatives. Whether our customers are looking for an alternative because a product is unavailable, soon to be discontinued, or has a lead time longer than they're is willing to wait. We've heard from many customers that this has been an extremely useful tool. 

What's Next? It's Always a Cycle

So far, in 2023, DigiKey has added over 175,000 new stocking parts year-to-date, including nearly 40,000 newly introduced product SKUs across our core business. We can look at order history and see signs that design activity is shifting from sourcing old designs to innovating new ones, which we're excited about and is a good sign for the overall industry. 

While we've seen an increase in customer count and shipments, we've also seen order size and revenue go down. But at DigiKey that doesn't mean it's time to worry, it's all cyclical and this is the time to work toward what is going to fuel that next stage, the next cycle. We see it as just the beginning.

We've been in this business for 50 years, and we're always looking forward. It's all hands on deck at DigiKey – we're growing our customer base, our capabilities and offerings, and we're laying the groundwork now for a bright future. We thank all of our customers, almost 1 million strong, for their business and trust in us – we wouldn't be here today without them.

Dave Doherty, president of DigiKey.Dave Doherty, president of DigiKey.DigiKeyDave Doherty is president at DigiKey, a leader and innovator in the high service distribution of electronic components and automation products worldwide. The company provides more than 14.9 million components from over 2,400 quality name-brand manufacturers.

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