Slowly upward: The Italian architectural paints market

The third-largest paints and coatings market in Europe – by volume and value – is Italy. The market is so highly fragmented that it is difficult to obtain reliable figures. However, the available data shows an upward trend for architectural coatings. At least for interior paints.

The Italian market for architectural coatings is slowly recovering. (Picture: ravnikovstudio - -

Since the Italian market is very fragmented, obtaining representative and reliable figures is a major challenge. This is no doubt due to the large number of companies active in this segment. Market experts estimate that there are close to 600 manufacturers of decorative and architectural paints. They span the whole spectrum from micro-enterprises to large multinational corporations.

More represenative data from the decorative coatings segment

The majority of paint makers, however, are not affiliated to any association, which explains why there is only limited information that has been officially confirmed. To address this deplorable state of affairs and to ascertain representative figures for the segment, a new association called Assovernici was founded in early 2010.

The association is composed of manufacturers of decorative and architectural paints. Its members are drawn from more than a third of the Italian market, which, in view of the strong fragmentation in the market, can be regarded as a representative starting point for compiling statistics.

495 million litres and sales of EUR 1.16 billion

According to Assovernici, the market volume in 2016 was 495 million litres, and was worth EUR 1.16 billion. The average selling price back then was EUR 2.35 per litre. This is the lowest figure since 2010, when the price per litre was still 2.28 EUR. The highest price was achieved in 2012 (EUR 2.42). Volumes in Italy have decreased gradually too since 2010. Seven years ago they came in at just under 650 million litres, a figure that has not been exceeded since.

In terms of sales, the year 2011 recorded the highest value of EUR 1.53 billion. Sales then fell below EUR 1.3 billion in 2012. This means that last year marked a low point. Assovernici also includes forecasts with its statistics. For 2017, the association expects volumes to remain virtually unchanged at 498 million litres. Sales are expected to increase by EUR 20 million to EUR 1.18 billion. The price per litre will rise to 2.37 EUR (+ 0.02 EUR). Even though these increases are only marginal, they indicate that the trend is now pointing upwards again.

Interior paints make up around two thirds of the total

The association’s statistics also provide a glimpse at the interior wall paints and façade paints segments. Volumes last year came in at 319.5 million litres, and were thus relatively stable compared with those in the previous two years. Some 64.5% of all interior paints are water-borne systems. Volumes peaked in 2010 at 384 million litres. The association expects a slight increase to 322 million litres this year.

The highest sales figure, EUR 600 million, was achieved in 2011. Yet, just two years later, interior wall paints posted a record low of EUR 494 million. The expectations for 2017 are for a small increase to EUR 510 million. The average selling price per litre has remained relatively constant since 2011 and fluctuates between EUR 1.59 and EUR 1.57. For 2017, this is expected to remain at 1.58 EUR, says the association.

Façade paints have fallen to the lowest level in seven years

Sales of façade paints in the Italian market amounted to EUR 220 million in 2016. Since 2011 (EUR 318 million), sales in this segment have fallen continually to what is now their lowest level in seven years. For 2017, the association expects performance to remain steady and estimates that sales will be worth EUR 225 million. In terms of volumes, 2010 (136 million litres) and 2011 (139 million litres) remain the strongest years in the period under review. Since 2012, volumes have fallen to 102 million litres (2016). Assovernici does not expect any increase in façade paints (101 million litres) for 2017.

The average price per litre fell to 2.16 EUR in 2016 – down from 2.32 EUR in 2012. However, the association predicts that the price will rise by more than 3% to EUR 2.23 for 2017.

Damir Gagro

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