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Thursday, 2 February 2017

Paint & coatings industry is witnessing a steady growth globally

A layer of paint or coating is not just a colour. Today, it has transformed into an art, a protective barrier to the walls, a healer of scratches on automotive and protector from numerous microbes around us. Modern paint & coatings have donned numerous such avatars to be much more than just a ‘coat of colour.’
By Debarati Das
The paint & coatings industry is witnessing a steady growth globally supported by a burgeoning constructions industry, a steady automobile industry and an overall awareness about the need for high-quality paints.
Despite various uncertainties that loom over the industry - slowdown in certain economies, fluctuating value of the US dollar, slow recovery in Europe, slowing down of automotive and construction industries in the US and other parts of the world, rising regulatory measures etc. – the paint & coatings industry is constantly changing its stances to innovative new technologies and processes to create opportunities from challenges.
The market can be broadly divided into three segments, architectural paints that depend on the performance of the building & construction sector, industrial paint & coatings which deal with applications in automotive, industrial equipment sectors and speciality paint & coatings.
Currently, paint & coatings market is witnessing the growth from the architectural paint segment due to the boom in housing and construction projects particularly in the emerging economies of Asia Pacific region.
Market Dynamics
According to MarketsandMarkets report, the global market value of the paint & coatings market is projected to be around $181.3 billion by 2020 and said to grow at a CAGR of around 5.0 percent between 2015 and 2020.
Industry experts project that the growth of paint & coatings industry is strengthening in the East with rising numbers of construction, automotive, and other industrial applications in the region which are giving the much-needed impetus to the overall paints and coatings market. Growing urban population, rising disposable income and strengthening gross domestic product is further accelerating this growth.
Asia-Pacific is the largest market, with major demand arising from China and India. Brazil and other Middle Eastern countries are also expected to boost the industry further. Europe is the second largest market for the paint & coatings industry currently. 
However, growth does not come without challenges. China’s growth rate, although positive, has slowed down while Brazil’s economy has softened. There has been a significant reduction in new vehicle demand in both Brazil and Russia. In South America, the buying power is decreasing which is directly affecting the automotive industry. There is also a global volatility of currency exchange rates and raw materials prices.
The key element for paint & coatings manufacturers is to react quickly to these changes and be flexible enough with the product line and provide innovative solutions. More and more companies are setting up local production and research facilities to understand the regional needs and meet the customers’ demands for high-quality products.
“Whether our customers are asking for coatings that are more durable, sustainable or easy to apply over complex substrates, we’re developing solutions to meet their needs,” said Mark William Price, director of sales, industrial coatings, PPG Industries.
Industry Trends
Being in Vogue: Apart from the growing construction business, the rising population with increasing disposable income is spending on maintaining and revamping of existing structures. “Research has shown that consumers lack confidence when it comes to decorating, with 40 percent actively searching for inspiration. That’s why we’re focused on driving innovations that improve people’s everyday lives by transforming their living spaces and helping them to choose the right colours and products. Recent examples include our award-winning Visualizer app, wet testers to sample paint colours, as well as paint formulations that prevent damage, resist dirt and keep homes cooler,” said David Menko, marketing director of AkzoNobel Decorative Paints.
With this architectural paints have expanded their offering with the wider range of hues, better textures and paints with special effects. “People are demanding for a wider choice of colour, texture and appeal. Instead of plain walls, people want textured paint and special appearance paints. In Europe and the US, where the demand for DIY paints are high, customers want paints which can dry quickly and is easy to apply making the whole painting process simpler,” said Dr Prachur Bhargava, global marketing and strategy manager, Ashland Specialty Ingredients.
Coatings for protection: Industrial and speciality purpose paints are becoming more and more important with the growing demand for safe environment friendly processes and logistics. New paints and coatings technologies are making way for high-performance epoxy resins and polymers with the ability to resist corrosion, even under extreme temperatures and pressures and when exposed to chemicals and impacts. Speciality coatings with antimicrobial and soundproofing properties are also in great demand.
Going green with eco-friendly coatings: The rising environmental concerns have increased the demand for environment friendly, non-hazardous, VOC compliant paints and coatings. This has been further instigated by stringent regulations by various countries. For instance, in China, concerns about smog and outdoor air quality have made way for stricter norms. Manufacturers are now subject to a 5 percent tax for VOCs in excess of approximately 400 g/l and this has led to a tremendous shift in technologies from low-solids, solvent-based coatings to high solids solvent borne and waterborne technologies.
Europe has the EU Ecolabel for indoor and outdoor paints and varnishes, as well as indoor air quality standards which are driving the market towards low odour coatings. Biocide has had a huge impact on the regulatory developments in Europe and the US. EU has implemented the new “allergen” label phrase which indicates that a chemical mixture may cause sensitization via skin contact. Following which the trigger concentration of the labels was deliberately set lower than previous hazard communication thresholds in order to protect the percentage of the European population that is already sensitised to a substance.
Self-healing properties: Automobile is one of the key growth drivers of the paint & coatings industry. While paint & coatings are used to give a glossy finish and protect the metal parts from degradation and rust, specially formulated coatings are being used for certain plastics in the interiors of cars to offer a soft feel touch. To take a step ahead, nanotechnology is widely being used in paints to incorporate self-healing property to paints to automatically repair scratches and abrasions on car surfaces.
“Automotive coatings industry is increasingly using nanotechnology to make self-healing coatings, where a scratch on the car surface can heal itself. Some companies have already commercialised this technology,” said Bhargava. 
The dynamics of the paint & coatings industry is constantly changing to come up with a better idea, newer technology and enhanced application in a coat of colour.
Read More: Paint & coatings industry is witnessing a steady growth globally

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