A closer look at protective coatings

Current figures for the protective coatings market show that it developed quite differently across the global markets. Also, as our analysis shows, the market is slowly shifting towards water-based coatings.

Protective coating on bridge
The protective coatings market developed positive in Asia-Pacific. However Image Source: Siegfried Schnepf - stock.adobe.com

In contrast to the architectural coatings segment, the protective coatings segment did not record a booming year in 2020. In total, the market volume remained stable as the largest region, Asia-Pacific, posted growth of 2.2 %. The market research firms IRL and Arizton expect the market to further grow in the next years. Dr Marco Trentini of the Italian protective coatings producer Ti.Pi.Ci. shares his views on why water-based systems in this field are still underrated and only hold a minor share in the market.

The market research firm IRL published in May 2020 the annual protective coatings report programme. The 2020 numbers were estimated based on feedback from the industry and the macro-economic and construction indicators available at the time. Sales to all regions were expected to decline apart from the Asia-Pacific region where China should have managed to grow albeit at a slower rate than in previous years.

Huge differences across the globe

The experts estimated the size of the global protective coatings market at a volume of 7,784,230 tonnes. According to IRL the value is at some EUR 27.8 billion. Values were calculated at manufacturers’ selling price (MSP). The total market slightly decreased by 1 % from 2019 to 2020, according to IRL’s data. Although Europe (-6.9 %), Americas (-7.2 %) and Middle East and Africa (-4.2 %) showed a substantial decline the overall figures only decreased marginally. This is because the largest region Asia-Pacific posted an increase of 2.2 %.

Share of Water-based systems to increase

The protective coatings segment is still heavily dominated by solvent-borne systems. According to IRL’s volume splits, 89.78 % of protective coatings are solvent-borne. Some 7 % are water-based and about 3 % are powder systems. The market experts only forecast marginal changes in 2024. Solvent-based systems will then hold a share of 87 %. The lost 2 % will shift towards water-based systems, which will still remain below 10 %. The market researchers from Artizon expect in terms of formulation, water-based protective solutions to observe the highest growth during the forecast period until 2026.

An increase in infrastructure and construction projects and the high adoption of water-based solutions are the major drivers for the growth. Another factor is government regulations for using volatile organic compounds and the pressure to follow CO2 emission norms. These regulations are positively influencing the demand for waterborne coating solutions across the globe, particularly in the APAC region.

More information: This article was originally published in European Coatings Journal 4/2021. The original article contains additional market data and an expert interview with Dr Marco Trentini, Technical Director at Ti.Pi.Ci. The article is available digitally at European Coatings 360° for subscribers.

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