A closer look at the wood coatings market

As wood remains a popular building material, the for the further development of the wood coatings market sound positive. The global volume should increase by 2024. Yet, the outlook of industry players sounds more cautious as the wood coatings manufacturers tend to assume stagnation.

Wood coatings
The market foor wood coatings has seen a long persiod of growth in the past Picture: Hui_u - stock.adobe.com

According to Markets and Markets the global market for wood coatings is expected to grow from 3.3 million tons in 2019 to 3.9 million tons by 2024, at an annual growth rate of 3.7 %. They also expect demand for wood coatings to be strongly influenced by environmental legislation and economic constraints in the construction industry.

With the increase in the residential sector, the market for wood coatings has experienced significant growth. The growth of the residential sector has led to the emergence of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) coatings. The market researchers expect the market for wood coatings to continue to grow as this do-it-yourselfers increasingly look for unique projects that include wood stains and surfaces.

Wood coatings growth depends on buildings market

The global market for wood coatings has experienced an upswing since 2009. This is due to the large number of new buildings following the economic downturn. There is a considerable amount of renovation and conversion work going on worldwide. In 2019, the Asia-Pacific region had a volume share of around 46 % of the total market, followed by North America and Europe with 27 % and 17 % respectively.

However, the wood coatings market in the industrialised countries is saturated, so that it will probably grow more slowly. The market in the emerging countries, such as China and India, is expected to grow more strongly in the next five years.

Wood coatings manufacturers expect stagnation

The development forecasts of the industry players are more cautious. For Dr Arne Deußen from the company Oskar Nolte, the market is relatively stable, although developments in individual application and customer segments are quite different. Steffen Rüdiger of Rütgers Organics classifies the current situation as follows: “There is stagnation in wood coatings and glazes. It can be assumed that the demand among existing customers will decrease. Window renovations are tending to become less.”

For Alexander Eisenacher of Alfred Clouth Lackfabrik, the market for wood coatings also continues to be difficult. “According to our estimates, the sales volume in the overall market for wood coatings will be around 3 % below the previous year’s level – without the additional economic effects of the Corona virus.”

Jens Hesse from Hesse Lignal is quite satisfied with the current development, but limits the statement: “This is by no means due to a dynamic market development. It is rather stagnating, partly declining. In the craft trade sector, for example, declining demand is the order of the day, replacement surfaces are often a welcome uncomplicated alternative to painted surfaces”.

Wood construction more popular

The wood coatings manufacturers still see potential in the market. “Wood construction seems to be becoming more popular overall,” summarises Rüdiger briefly. He sees further potential in wood facades with greying glazes. For Deußen the substrate wood is attractive as a renewable raw material and could win in favour of other substrates due to the sustainability issue. “We mainly coat wood-based materials, which often have an even better ecological balance sheet. Here we are in a position to provide high-quality consulting and development services in the coordination of substrate surfaces with machine requirements and our coatings,” explains Deußen.

Trend towards less and smaller furniture

For Deußen, the furnishing trend is towards less and less or smaller furniture – which is more than compensated for by the strong interest rate trend in construction and renovation. “For years now, customers have been shifting their markets to Eastern Europe. We expect this to continue. On the market side, medium-sized industrial customers are losing out to small, flexible manufacturers and joineries or to efficient large-scale producers,” says Deußen.

According to Hesse, natural-looking surfaces are still in vogue, whether oiled or lacquered. Dull matt and scratch-resistant surfaces, achieved with classic paint systems or with eximer technology, underpin this trend. “And apparently, the wave of oak and white lacquer is over, things are getting more colourful – these are our impressions of the Cologne furniture fair,” says Hesse.

For Rüdiger, there is a trend towards oils, waxes and mineral paints – in other words, products with a biological background. “Greying glazes with and without a metallic effect are still popular. There is also a trend away from thick-film products towards thin and medium-film products. Products with a matt surface are also becoming more popular,” Rüdiger describes.

Jens Hesse says that potential in a declining market can only be developed with solutions that have a high market relevance. For example, solutions that increase customer efficiency. “We are able to paint even deep 3D profiles with efficient rolling applications and thus avoid spray applications. Solutions that enable previously unattained qualities, such as brushed oak parquet with completely protected pores,” explains Hesse. But innovative solutions alone are not enough, new service concepts such as partner programs are essential components, Hesse adds.

More information: This is a shortened version of a more detailed article in European Coatings Journal 9/2020. The full version with additional information on the raw material situation, rising competition and more is available at our online library European Coatings 360°.

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