Consumers prioritise exterior paint durability and interior paint textures

by | Aug 15, 2022

As Australia’s weather patterns continue to challenge homeowners with extreme heat and intense rain, durable paint is expected to remain top of mind for consumers throughout the upcoming paint season.

Paint coloured bathing boxes.

Australian weather can be harsh and these weather patterns are not going away any time soon, Independent Paint Specialists Australia (IPSA) General Manager David McCormack said, which is why some of the most durable paints on the market will continue to sell well.

“The most durable, exterior paint we currently have is Haymes Paint Solashield Exterior which has UV defence, is resistant to dirt and mould and protects against cracking and peeling. The paint is also very easy to apply, clean, and maintain, making it the perfect choice for all customers,” Mr McCormack said.

From an interior paint perspective, consumers are continuing to seek out products that are not only low in VOC, but are durable as well. 

“One of our most popular products for customers looking for a low VOC paint is Haymes Paint Expressions. It is 99 per cent VOC free while also remaining a highly durable interior paint. I believe that interior paint trends are leaning more toward textured finishes to create a feeling of nature and safety. Creating this ambiance is something that Australians are seeking out right now after enduring a challenging few years,” Mr McCormack said.

On-going sales within the paint sector are also being attributed to the increase in lockdown paint projects and on-going professional trade shortages. Forcing consumers to tackle projects themselves, when they would have otherwise engaged a painter. Mr McCormack says consumers are building the confidence to tackle big projects themselves. 

“As DIY projects increase, we are finding more and more people are seeking help to ensure they achieve a professional result. One key focus across all of our stores is providing friendly and expert advice. We have also ramped up our on-line support with the launch of our six new step-by-step ‘Show Me’ videos, on our website and YouTube.”

“The new videos cover things like how to coat a deck, how to paint a wall and a room, and more. They are found on our website and YouTube alongside some of our Haymes Paint Shops and are an excellent way for customers to get the advice they need when they need it,” Mr McCormack said.

As the warmer weather approaches, Mr McCormack says that he expects stores to receive a lot of inquiries around two particular product ranges.

“These ranges include our Haymes Paint Solashield Exterior paints and our Woodcare range. Dexpress Deck & Timber Stain is our most popular decking product. It is easy to use, washes up with water, and lasts three times longer than traditional decking oils. It is also UV and mould resistant which is so important given our intense local weather,” he said.

Throughout the upcoming season Haymes paint shops will focus on maintaining product knowledge so they can continually support their local communities throughout the upcoming season. 

Mr McCormack says having the ability to provide the correct advice to DIY customers through to professional painters with decades of experience is no easy task. “Our stores are passionate about delivering excellent service and helping customers bring their projects to life.”

“The next step in serving customers correctly is ensuring that we stock everything they need to complete their projects. During the pandemic I think retailers across the board started to look at what products they stocked and where they were sourced. From this we saw an increased demand for products that were manufactured in Australia as it helped alleviate the pressures on supply chains,” Mr McCormack said.

For now, Mr McCormack said his store’s focus will remain firmly on providing great service along with a wide range of quality products throughout the upcoming season. 

High-end paint makes a comeback in a competitive market

The Paint Place Group of Stores continues to experience healthy sales across all paint sectors. General Manager Gary Liddicoat says he expects the buoyant sales to continue despite the major weather events experienced on the Eastern Seaboard.

“The only factor that has negatively affected paint sales, particularly in Queensland and New South Wales, is the unprecedented wet weather. Apart from this business is very good. Obviously, it is still the middle of winter so interior paint sales are stronger than exterior paint at the moment. Overall sales are very healthy,” Mr Liddicoat said.

One paint product that is expected to shake up the market this season is a high-end product from the US. Already gaining traction within the Australian market.

“Benjamin Moore is a high-end paint product that was recently brought onto the Australian market by Australian distributor Tenaru. They are now working hard to implement a wide range of choice online. This brand attempted to tap into the Australian market years ago but I believe they were ahead of their time because the technology is so good. It has a colour offer with unique products and technology that are new to Australia,” Mr Liddicoat said.

“Benjamin Moore works very hard with specifiers and architects to ensure their colour is specified on jobs and they have some very good environmentally friendly products as well. They also have a unique offer with their tinters because they are one of the only companies in the world that make their own tint using Gennex Technology. This is a molecular locking system that locks colour into the actual resin rather than standard dispersion which is quite a unique feature,” he said.

Tenaru is currently talking to a couple of Paint Place stores who are looking at implementing the product which is already creating good interest.

“Benjamin Moore bases the development of its products around colour and quality – not trends or price. By supporting Benjamin Moore, nothing will be taken away from current suppliers because it is an ultra-premium product and is another level above anything we have on the market,” he said.

Looking to mainstream paint, environmentally friendly products continue to gain momentum in all markets and industries according to Mr Liddicoat who said consumers are generally more aware of the need to protect the natural environment – not just in the paint industry, but with everyday products as well.

“Paint is the same as these products because there are still volatile compounds in paint and this concerns those who want to protect the natural environment. Benjamin Moore paints have the lowest VOC’s and a couple of their products do not have any VOCs at all so these will be popular if they are brought into the local market,’ he said.

For now, healthy paint sales are expected in the upcoming paint season, particularly as consumers stay home once again to save their money and conduct DIY projects including painting. Mr Liddicoat believes this ‘stay-at-home’ trend will continue particularly as inflation continues to rise and interest rates creep up.

“I also believe people are apprehensive because of the new COVID wave taking hold at the moment. I believe this will continue for some time. Other factors driving on-going sales include things such as the upcoming Olympics. With a lot of Queenslanders investing in their homes and painting them. So they can sell at a premium price closer to the event, or rent their homes out. Economists are also backing this trend and say Queensland’s real estate market has a good 10 years ahead of it,” he said.

Supply chain issues are on the improve, according to Mr Liddicoat, who said this is particularly the case as raw materials become more available than they have been for some time. The issue now sits with shipping, with the backlog continuing to take a toll on the market, he said.

“I recently spoke with a paint accessories company and they told me that they have 20 containers on the water at the moment but their supply chain has now caught up. Orders they placed eight months ago will now arrive at the same time as orders that were placed three weeks ago. They will go from having no stock to not having enough warehouse space to store everything that is coming in.”

“In saying this, paint accessories seem to have become more of a consumable product now. Consumers just do not seem to clean paint brushes and rollers like they used to and often throw out a product after use because they do not cost a lot of money to replace.”

When it comes to competition, Mr Liddicoat believes that hardware businesses are showing more of an interest in implementing paint in-store now more than ever due to the high volume of paint sales experienced throughout the pandemic.

Paint Place has several marketing launches coming up in the lead-up to spring including continuing to push its VIP Rewards program which remains popular in stores.

“The Paint Place VIP reward program is all about stickability. It rewards customers for their loyalty and shopping locally – locals supporting locals. Once they have joined the program, they earn reward points which they can redeem the next time they come in and purchase. This loyalty program has worked really well for us and will no doubt continue to work well throughout 2022 and beyond,” he said.

HBT predicts healthy paint season ahead

Although there has been a slowing in retail and trade paint sales of late, Hardware & Building Traders (HBT) Business Manager, Rita Niforas says the overall paint sector continues to perform well.

“I believe the slowing of sales in trade paint particularly is a result of all of the delays within the building sector at the moment. So, there might be a delay in installing plasterboard into a new home due to shipping or staffing delays, which will then see a hold up with the home being painted as well.”

“The slowing in retail paint sales is primarily a result of several factors. these include consumers traveling more now after completing all of the painting that they needed to complete throughout the COVID lockdowns. Consumers have also begun to tighten their belts as inflation continues to increase alongside rising mortgage rates,” Ms Niforas said.

The unprecedented paint sales experienced throughout the pandemic have now slowed and, whilst are not back to pre-COVID levels, Ms Niforis predicts a six per cent decline in sales for the upcoming season when compared with 2020.

Despite the drop in sales, promotions are expected to maintain a market vibrancy in the upcoming months with several promotional deals currently being offered by HBT suppliers. 

“The wide range of promotional deals on offer across the overall paint category allows our members flexibility and choice on what works well for them in their business. We have plenty of promotional activity planned which will be based around volume buys or discounts in the upcoming spring painting season,” she said.

There will be plenty of marketing activity around environmentally friendly, water-based products that are also expected to be popular this season, Ms Niforis said.

“There have been a lot of advancements around cleaning products that are used for cleaning brushes etc. Many of these products removing harsh chemicals and leaning towards more water-based products as well,” she said.

When it comes to maintaining supply, while Ms Niforis believes the majority of paint suppliers are currently maintaining their paint supplies quite well, the only problem now lies primarily with imported raw materials that are showing a substantial increase in pricing.

“Maintaining healthy sales is also about us working well with our suppliers. From our buying team perspective to ensure we introduce core ranges of best sellers into the marketplace which is really important. So we can say to our customers that these are the core sellers. This is what you should stock for a small, medium or large store and this will give you the growth and the turnout that you need as a hardware independent,” she said.

HBT is strongly advocating its members to implement at least one good clean bay of accessories, rollers, trays, rags and cleaning products. This will ensure that if a painter or a DIY customer purchases paint in-store. Customers will have access to a wide variety of accessories and they do not have to go to another store to source their paint accessories for upcoming projects.