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Global demand for architectural paints to exceed 21 million metric tons in 2011

By Tim Wright

Published April 14, 2008
World demand for architectural paints is forecast to rise 3.9% per year through 2011 to 21.5 million metric tons, valued at $47 billion. Although respectable, growth will decelerate in comparison to the performance of the 2001 to 2006 period, due to a significant projected slowdown in global building construction expenditure growth through 2011. Through 2011, water-based paints will expand their share of the global market to 73%. Western Europe's paint industry will see a penetration rate of 88% by 2011, spurred by some of the strictest environmental regulations in the world, a few of which will come into effect over the course of the 2006-2011 period. These and other trends are presented in World Architectural Paints, a study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland, OH-based industry research firm.

Gains will be paced by developing countries in the Asia Pacific region, with the world's two most populous nations—China and India—both seeing large gains in their markets. In 2006, architectural paint demand in China and India stood at 1.2 and 0.6 kilograms per person, respectively. In contrast, per capita demand in developed countries averages around nine to ten kilograms.

North America will register the weakest gains of all regions through 2011. The current housing and mortgage crisis in the U.S. will restrain paint sales to the new homes market. Western Europe will also register weak growth, with below average economic and building construction growth prospects, mortgage sector weaknesses in some constituent nations and stagnant regional population growth all the blame. Nevertheless, Western Europe will remain the world's leading regional net exporter of architectural paint, due largely to Germany.

All regions other than Western Europe will see DIY paint demand growing faster than professional sector paint demand through 2011. As large scale retail paint and general home improvement stores continue to proliferate into previously unpenetrated locales, and as increasing worldwide internet connectivity leads to easy online access to paint product and painting information, DIY paint jobs will become more common in the developing world. In Western Europe, on the other hand, the DIY sector already represents a world leading 40% of the overall market. However, recent trends suggest a shift in favor of the professional sector in Western Europe through 2011, in spite of the high labor cost in the region.

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