Use of traditional media by engineering, technical and industrial professionals continues to lose ground to online resources, according to respondents of the GlobalSpec Engineering Trends Survey. This fifth annual study surveyed respondents involved in the purchasing of technical products or services to determine Internet usage patterns.

Ninety-one percent of respondents reported using the Internet to find components and suppliers, while 90% indicated that they have obtained product specifications online. Additionally, 82% reported using the Internet for research, compared to 68% a year ago. Plus, this audience is spending more time online for work purposes; 45% of respondents reported spending six or more hours per week online.

Results of the survey also indicate that engineers prefer to contact suppliers using online methods, yet many suppliers are not meeting expectations with their responses. Forty-two percent of engineers prefer to contact suppliers and manufacturers by visiting them on the Web, and another 36% prefer e-mail. But 40% of respondents indicated that they typically wait between 3-7 days to receive the information they request via e-mail, and 5% wait even longer.

While engineers continue to use the Internet frequently for work purposes, some new media has not yet been widely adopted by this audience. For example, survey results show that 84% of respondents reported never viewing a podcast for work-related purposes. However, 39% of engineers reported viewing a Webinar or Webcast in the past year, showing an increased acceptance of this medium among the technical community.

Additional findings from the GlobalSpec Fifth Annual Engineering Trends Survey include:

  • 56% of respondents state that specifications are the most valuable information when searching for products and components.

  • 79% use two or more search engines when using the Internet for work-related purposes.

  • 51% of respondents reported attending no trade shows in the last 12 months.

Access the survey results at