One of the most profound changes was that as a result of the shutdown, people have been forced to spend the majority of their time at home.
This has caused consumers to rethink the design and purpose of their living spaces. As homes have become not only recreational spaces but also schools and work areas, DIYers have been busy transforming their rooms into multi-functional spaces. This in turn is driving the market for architectural coatings.
“The impact of COVID-19 on the interior coatings market varied widely based on the structure of the market and the type of sector,” said Kathryn Ledson, global marketing director, Consumer Paints at AkzoNobel. “In the main, markets with a significant DIY focus saw increases in demand as spend shifted from areas such as travel to home improvement. Consumers used the time at home to upskill themselves and we saw a rise in online searches for color help and advice.”
“Like many industries, the pandemic caused uncertainty for our interior business sectors,” Ledson noted. “Work initially stalled for painters in some parts of the world, and as an industry, we have had to adapt and minimize on-site risk. Retailers have also rapidly adapted to meet shifts in demand and service increased online transactions.”
Ledson noted an increase in paint projects in those markets that have a very strong history of DIY. “People’s homes became the focal point of activity and have become central to their lives during this global pandemic. Families are living, educating, working and getting creative indoors, sometimes all at once. So it’s no surprise that people have reconsidered their environment and are taking advantage of the time to refresh their homes. Some are creating colorful workspaces out of necessity, others are refreshing the spaces that they are now spending more time in.
People who have put off home improvement jobs have utilized the time normally spent on travel and entertainment to carry out their renovations. And people looking to attain new skills have often opted to learn DIY skills.”
“The pandemic has encouraged many of us to take another look at our spaces and adapt them to our new needs,” said Erika Woelfel, vice president of color, Behr. “In both the residential and commercial coatings industries, we’ve learned this year more than ever that paint color is a powerful way to transform a space to positively influence and elevate an environment and provide a sense of comfort.
“With more time at home in 2020, DIYers tackled home projects throughout the past several months,” Woelfel continued. “Since paint is a low-cost and high-impact project, it can improve home value and set or influence the desired mood in any setting whether it’s to increase productivity or encourage a sense of wellness. Many homeowners converted rooms into multi-functional spaces to address new needs like remote work, virtual gatherings, distance learning, home gyms, and more.”
“Today, our homes are serving double as they become gyms, play areas for children, classrooms, offices, and general living spaces,” added Alison Bruce, PPG senior marketing manager. “As homeowners continue to shelter in place, they are understandably taking a closer look at their homes and examining how they function. As a result, home improvement projects have experienced a nationwide surge.”
According to Bruce, in June, Bank of America polled more than 1,000 Americans about their attitudes and shopping habits during the pandemic, and they found that 70 percent of respondents tackled home improvement projects this year, with additional projects already planned for 2021.
“When sheltering in place and spending more time at home, homeowners tend to look at the same scuffs, scratches, and patches on their walls, and eventually want to do something about them,” noted Bruce. “Or, they simply want to finally complete that kitchen, bathroom or basement they’ve been dreaming of for years. With a little more time on their hands, DIYers were willing to take on projects big and small in 2020, and because of this, PPG’s architectural coatings business saw a strong performance.”
Bruce noted that we’re seeing reverse urbanization in the U.S. – many millennials and younger generations are entering prime homebuying years, and are purchasing homes in favor of more space, especially during the pandemic. “In fact, home sales rose to a new 14-year high in September, marketing the fourth straight monthly increase and one of the best stretches for the housing market in years. This creates robust demand for paint – existing homeowners paint their home to sell, and new homeowners will often paint again once they move into their
Another factor noted by Bruce is that DIYers, as a result of robust product and color information online, are more inclined than previously to purchase their paint products digitally. “In fact, PPG experienced triple-digit percentage increases in online paint sales during the first few months of the pandemic, validating the strong appetite homeowners currently have for DIY paint projects,” she noted.
The expectation is that 2021 will see some improvements, although growth is expected to be moderate.
“We expect painting activity to continue into 2021 as people feel motivated to plan and complete their own DIY home projects while safety measures are in place,” said Woelfel. “The interior coatings industry always sees new trends, many of which will inspire DIYers and designers to reinvigorate and refresh spaces in the year ahead and I expect paint projects will continue to bring a sense of accomplishment in 2021 for both residential and commercial spaces.”
“We expect PPG’s aggregate architectural business to remain more resilient and once again deliver higher year-over-year organic sales in the fourth quarter, taking into account some seasonality trends,” said Bruce. “We do anticipate continued softness in the U.S. commercial maintenance segment and for the do-it-yourself demand to begin to moderate somewhat from the current elevated levels. We’re continuing to invest in our digital capabilities and expect more activities to be digitalized in the coming quarters.”
When considering exterior architectural coatings, color is probably the most important factor for a DIYer.
Every year, the color specialists in AkzoNobel’s Global Aesthetic Center work with a team of top international design experts to discuss the latest global trends that will affect every aspect of
“As a result of the global pandemic, we worked closer than ever with these experts to ensure that our trend forecasting reflected people’s reality,” said Ledson. “We saw that people are really taking stock of the things which matter to them and that for many the home has become a solid foundation of support, as well as a space to get creative. We see that people are looking for colors that help them restore natural balance. In homes, the trend towards using soft neutrals continues, as well as the use of earthy tones to bring warmth and harmony to homes. Our Color of the Year 2021 Brave Ground is a brilliant example of this, a warm, earthy tone that creates a feeling of stability, growth and potential. It also works well with other colors, allowing them to shine. For those people with more contemporary styles, we see the use of colors which are energizing but not overpowering – bringing positivity and balance to spaces.”
According to Woelfel, in 2021, trending warm earth tones, neutrals and energetic colors will offer comforting and accessible hues to DIYers and designers for any project.
“The new BEHR Color Trends 2021 Palette consists of both neutral and bold colors, which are all complimentary so it’s easy to mix and match hues. My current favorites from the palette are Canyon Dusk S210-4, Cellini Gold HDC-CL-18, Voyage PPU13-7 and Jojoba N390-3.”
“Design trends that will carry over into 2021 are shaped by comfort and nostalgia, which is why natural materials like wool and cotton, waxed wood, supple leather and honed stone countertops are chosen to help homes feel more inviting. Nostalgia will also factor into design trends and we’ll continue to see rounded art deco forms in modern furnishings and pastel colors.”
“With the world sheltering in place for almost the entirety of 2020, we continue to crave human connection and embrace simple activities, such as walking, reading, hiking, baking and gardening,” said Bruce. “PPG’s recently announced Palette of the Year pays tribute to the current consumer mindset with an organic and nostalgic palette, consisting of hues Transcend, Big Cypress and Misty Aqua, which represent what consumers have been longing for after decades of overstimulation and overconsumption – simplicity and rest. We anticipate that COVID-19 will greatly influence professional interior designers and do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) alike to embrace rich, warm colors, like those found in the Palette of the Year, helping them feel reconnected to our natural environment, after months of being indoors. From a design materials perspective, we believe consumers in 2021 will be searching for easy and various ways to incorporate plants and biophilic design into the home – just another method of simulating the feeling of being outdoors.”
New Product Offerings
Following on from its success in China with a range called Dulux Forest Breath, AkzoNobel recently launched a new premium paint range called Dulux Better Living Clean Air in Vietnam.
Indoor air pollution is drawing a lot of attention from major health organizations these days. Dulux Better Living Clean Air is an innovative bio-based paint that can help to purify indoor air. Our Pure Air Technology removes pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, making it a really smart solution.
AkzoNobel also recently launched a new anti-marking technology across a number of its paint brands in Europe, including Dulux Trade Scuffshield and Sikkens Anti-Mark. This paint is designed to keep walls looking good for longer, protecting them from the scuff marks which are left behind by items like bags and shoes. It is water-based, cleanable and an ideal product to use in rooms where many people are coming and going.
Last year, Behr launched Behr Express for DIYers who want to select paint colors from a curated collection of its most popular colors using a simple online quiz.
DIYers can order and receive their paint order directly to their doorstep, along with everything needed to tackle a project, including supplies such as paintbrushes and rollers.
Additionally, the recently released BEHR ULTRA SCUFF DEFENSE Interior Paint that debuted in a traditional flat finish that delivers on advanced scuff and mar resistance, is now available for DIYers and paint professionals in all sheens including eggshell, semi-gloss and satin enamel.
PPG recently launched UltraLast interior paint + primer with PPG Clean Surface Technology, an integration of PPG stain-resistant coatings technology used on premium electronics; and PPG automotive coatings technology.
PPG UltraLast paint is exceptionally resistant to stains, burnish (shiny spots) and marring (light marks). It was engineered to resist both greasy stains (like hand-grime, crayons and lipstick); as well as water-based stains like red wine, grape juice and coffee.
Most paints resist one type of stain better than the other, but PPG UltraLast paint has been engineered to resist both.
An UltraLast finish is smooth and uniform and specifically formulated to resist mildew on the paint film. It is a beautiful, durable finish for all areas of the home. It can be used with confidence in challenging areas like hallways and playrooms, and in moist interior environments like bathrooms and kitchens.
Also, PPG is currently pursuing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval for an antimicrobial paint product formulated with Corning Guardiant.
Subject to EPA approval, PPG’s antiviral paint product will be available under the name COPPER ARMOR.
“We know that now more than ever, our customers are seeking multiple layers of protection as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bruce. “Following registration with the EPA, we look forward to launching a paint product that contains Corning Guardiant glass-ceramic technology, shown to kill more than 99.9 percent of SARS-CoV-2, providing customers with an additional safeguard from the Coronavirus in areas that pose a higher health risk.”