Wood coatings: Growth in stages

Wood continues to be a popular material. Upbeat forecasts for housing and residential construction activity and increasing levels of urbanisation are boosting demand for wood coatings in particular. How is the situation on the market currently?

Wood coatings: Growth in stages. Source: Jakub Jirsák - Fotolia -

Compared with the global coatings market, which last year had a value of EUR 125 billion and a volume of over 40 billion litres, wood coatings are small fry. Market research company Orr & Boss estimates that they represent about 6 to 7% by both value and volume. That would make their contribution worth EUR 8.6 billion and imply a volume of around 2.6 billion litres.

Prognostications about how the market will develop vary from study to study. But in view of the increasing levels of urbanisation in many parts of the world and the recovery in housing and residential construction activity, the prospects for the future look good. Markets and Markets (MaM), another market research company, estimated the size of the market in 2016 at almost EUR 9.95 billion. The company based this figure on demand for wood coating resin  which it assessed as being worth EUR 2.98 billion. Given that resins account for about 30% of the value of a typical wood coating, this translates to a value of almost EUR 10 billion. MaM expects the market for these resins to grow by a CAGR of 5.4% through to 2021 by which estimate the resins market would then be worth EUR 3.83 billion. Applying the same figure of 30%, the wood coatings market would then be worth about EUR 12.6 billion.

Asia-Pacific region is and will remain the largest market by value and volume

Regionally, the coatings market for wood mirrors the entire coatings sector. By far the largest and therefore the most important market for wood coating is Asia-Pacific. Market research companies are relatively unanimous in this respect, attributing 60% of the global wood coatings market to this region. Taking Orr & Boss’ figures as a basis, the EUR 5.25 billion account for 61% of the total value of wood coatings, with the almost 1.7 billion litres corresponding to 65% of the total volume. Cautious estimates suggest that annual growth in this region will be about 13% by volume and just under 15% by value in the years ahead. Europe and America follow in second and third places.

Solvent-borne systems will continue to dominate the market

The majority of all coatings for wood continue to be solvent-borne. The market researchers are relatively unanimous here, estimating the solvent-borne fraction at 60 to 70% of the total volume. Conventional solvent-borne systems lead the rankings with over 40%. High-solids solvent-borne paints account for a good 25%. Water-borne systems and radiation-curable coatings together make up almost 30%. There will be little change in this breakdown in the coming years. There will be marginal changes in favour of water-borne and UV systems as a result of a shift towards more eco-friendly products. This is a process which is mostly evident in Europe and North America, as these regions have a higher proportion of eco-friendly paint systems than Asia-Pacific. However, given that the latter is the largest in terms of wood coatings, the share of solvent-borne systems has the greater impact on the overall market.

The complete market report can be found in the July/August issue of the European Coatings Journal, which offers an extensive package on wood coatings, including product overview, expert interviews and technical papers.

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