Quality ‘green’ products drive paint market

Although the paint market remains fairly stable year in year out, it does continually grow and contract a couple of per cent, which is primarily linked to the construction industry and the introduction of environmentally friendly products, according to Haymes Paint Export and New Business Manager, Matt Haymes.

“The past 12 months have seen a small decline in overall sales throughout the industry. While Haymes Paint is not available in corporate hardware, and our market share is in our chosen channels, which is independents, this area has grown for the tenth straight year. We are pretty honoured that so many family owned distributors choose to partner with Haymes Paint,” Mr Haymes said.

Environmentally friendly products

Haymes has developed significantly in producing environmentally friendly products, particularly over the last 30 years, and even more so since the introduction of the Paintback Scheme in 2016. This is particularly evident when looking at how Haymes has developed since it moved into its, then, new paint plant in 1990 when 50 per cent of its manufacturing was in water-based products and 50 per cent was traditional solvent-based products.

“Today 92 per cent of the products we produce are water-based. The vast majority of these are classified as ‘enviro’. We have also continued to recycle all water in our processes for years. Paintback has been a wonderful scheme, and all retailers, trade and participating manufacturers should be very proud of their collective contribution. The coming years should see some fantastic industry initiatives introduced as well,” he said.

While the evolvement of products has remained a priority for Haymes over the years, product launches have also remained at the forefront of the company’s innovation. A major new range of render and texture products is currently being reviewed by the company, according to Mr Haymes, which almost entirely completes the company’s single source offer to the market.  

“With a suite of architectural and decorative, industrial and protective, woodcare, roofing, Artisan and automotive coatings, we now have a range of products for almost every surface,” he said.

Haymes also has several significant launches planned for 2020, with its new Rendertex range and systems expected to be a key focus which will evolve across 2020.  

“With other ranges in our A&D family, we are continually reviewing, refining and looking at variation in formulation across the portfolio,” he said.

When it comes to competition in the market, Mr Haymes said that although Australian consumers do like to purchase quality paints, first time DIYers can often buy on price but quickly realise that it is a false economy.

“When Masters initially entered the market, a lot of cheap paint flooded into the Australian market. However, retail and trade customers quickly realised these paints were inferior and not up to our standards. Why would you go through the hours of preparation and then hard work applying a paint that then does not last, wash or cover?” Mr Haymes said.

“The paint industry is mature, and competition is relentless. It is for this reason that we have had to find new ways to compete, and reinvent the way the channels we compete in operate,” he said.

Excitement in the category is expected to pick up soon, particularly as the weather improves in the south, and many customers come out of hibernation in spring to commence decorating projects.  

“In other parts of the country, like parts of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, New South Wales and Queensland, it is a preferable painting season most of the year. However, in Ballarat, where Haymes Paint is made, this area well and truly falls into the first category,” he said.

Point of difference

Haymes continues to maintain its point of difference in the market by sustaining itself as a family owned and operated Australian company. This is particularly evident after Dulux shareholders approved a $3.8 billion buyout by Nippon Paints, on July 31, leaving Haymes Paints to soon be the biggest locally owned paint maker in Australia. Dulux suspended from trading on the Australian Securities Exchange on August 6, after nine years as a stand-alone company on the ASX. 

“By the end of August, we will be Australia’s largest Australian made and Australian owned paint manufacturer. Wattyl, Solver, Taubman’s and Bristol are owned by American corporations. Dulux, Berger, British, Cabot’s, Intergrain and all the brands in the Dulux Group, have now been bought out by Nippon Paints. Then there
is Haymes!”

“Our purpose is to support Aussie families – independent family owned paint and hardware retailers, tradespeople who are family owned, and Australian families decorating their home and business. We have a hell of a lot of pride in what we do, the quality of products we produce and the team – which is by far the best in the industry – who have chosen to be part of the Haymes Paint family,” he said.

With the Nippon Paints $3.8 billion buyout of Dulux well underway, Haymes will continue to market and emphasise its roots, stretching back to 1935, and that the company continues to produce 12 million litres of paint annually from a large factory at Ballarat in Victoria, manned by 240 people.

Canstar Blue Awards Australia’s number one paint brand

As the largest Australian-made and family-owned paint brand, Haymes was also recently named Canstar Blue’s best-rated paint brand for the second year in a row, beating competitors Dulux, Wattyl, Taubmans and British Paints to take out the top spot.

Last year, Haymes Paint had to share the top spot with Solver, but in 2019 stands alone as the best-rated paint in Australia.

Over 1,000 Australians scored paint brands on areas including overall satisfaction, durability, ease of application, value for money, quality of finish and range. Haymes Paint was the only brand to score the maximum five stars across all six categories, with no other paint brand attaining a five-star rating in any category. 

Haymes Paint Chief Executive Officer, Rod Walton, said it was a true honour to be named the best paint brand in the country for the second year running.

“Competing as a manufacturer in a category dominated by multinationals presents its challenges, but we are so proud that as an Australian family-owned business, we have been able to maintain our independent roots and our reputation as Australia’s premier paint brand. It reinforces our founding philosophy of never taking shortcuts on quality.” 

Canstar Blue presented the brand with the 2019 Award for Most Satisfied Customers: Paint, at Haymes Paint’s Ballarat manufacturing site on July 24.

L-R – Tim Haymes, Matt Haymes and Haymes Paint CEO Rod Walton.

“We are really pleased to present Haymes Paint with the title of Most Satisfied Customers for the second year running,” Canstar Blue’s National Client Manager, Morgan Mantova said. 

“This Australian brand is focused on creating quality products, which is reflected in the feedback from our consumer research. It is certainly something to celebrate!” 

So, what is it that consumers look for when they buy house paint? Canstar Blue’s research identified the following drivers of customer satisfaction once a paint job is complete:

Durability: 28 per cent

Ease of application: 27 per cent

Value for money 22 per cent

Quality of finish: 14 per cent

Range/variety: 9 per cent

Durability is first and foremost when it comes to paint, with ease of application a close second, according to Canstar Blue. It is also interesting to see ‘value for money’ being the third driver, which might suggest Aussies do not mind paying a good price for paint, as long as they get quality results. On average, consumers spent $284 on their most recent purchase of paint.

Canstar Blue’s 2019 house paint ratings saw five brands compared, rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction: 1. Haymes Paint 2. Wattyl 3. Dulux 4. British Paints 5. Taubmans. 

Wattyl and Dulux received four stars for overall satisfaction, while British Paints and Taubmans were left with three stars a-piece. It seems consumers are tough critics when it comes to paint, with no other brand receiving a five-star review in any other category. 

Wattyl

Wattyl continues its claim as an Aussie icon since 1915, operating both here and in New Zealand. Customers often follow Wattyl’s latest colour trends via the company’s website, with its trend insights report offering inspiration for any job.

The website also provides a virtual planner where users can upload images of their own home and explore the colour options, with its most famous range being the ‘Solaguard’ range, suited for harsh Aussie climates.

Wattyl received four stars for overall satisfaction, ease of application and quality of finish. It achieved three stars in all other categories, including durability, value for money and range.

Dulux

Dulux continues to provide a vast range of interior and exterior products, plus several helpful online tools and services to assist in completing jobs with maximum efficiency. One of the most impressive things about Dulux is its ‘Paint Calculator’, which takes the guess work out of trying to decide how much paint users require. 

Users can also call on the advice of Dulux’s design team to help pick the right colours for any project. In 2019, Dulux received four stars for all rated variables, except value for money, where it scored three stars.

British Paints

Operating in Australia for more than 80 years, British Paints is currently sold exclusively at Bunnings. There are plenty of useful tools on the British Paints website, including its ‘Colouriser’ feature that allows users to visualise how colours could look in various rooms. It also offers inspiration on different colour schemes, as well as providing a customer service line, further advice and recommendations. British Paints received three stars for overall satisfaction this year, as well as most other categories. However, it scored four stars on value for money.

Taubmans

The Taubmans website remains a fantastic resource for planning out any next big paint job, according to Canstar Blue. Its ‘Paint Planner’ literally walks users through the whole process, providing a plan of when to start moving furniture, plus how long the job should take, as well as recommending types of paint and where to buy them. Users will also find helpful tips on how to pick the right colour for their room, as well as a paint calculator and DIY videos. This year, Taubmans was left on three stars for overall satisfaction and all other factors except for one: ease of application, where it achieved four stars.

Berger

Berger’s motto is ‘Keep on keeping on’, which is an apt motto for painting a house. Berger also offers an ‘inspiration’ corner on its website, plus in-depth DIY videos. Berger offers three ranges of paint labelled ‘Berger’, ‘Berger Jet Dry’ and ‘Colorbond’ – the latter of which matches paint samples to Colorbond’s colours for roofs, fences or gutters.

Solver

With over a century of painting experience under its belt, Solver Paints utilises face-to-face service as the primary selling point and continues to operate its own physical stores across Australia. Solver also delivers a range of online tools to help users plan paint jobs, including its ‘Colour Designer’, which allows users to browse through more than 1,300 colour options.

Environmentally friendly products encourage stagnant market

Monarch (Australian Brushware Corporation) Marketing Manager, Michelle Wee, agrees that although there has been some slowing of paint sales, due to a decline in new housing over the past few years, the market has remained consistently stable.

“Having said this, Australian consumers are still undergoing renovations at home and properties are continuously requiring maintenance, hence sales of paint accessories are also consistent. The property market has lifted two per cent since the election, and lending has also lifted slightly, so we are all hoping for better conditions moving forward,” Ms Wee said.

Ms Wee also pointed out that while all industries continue to move towards more environmentally friendly products, Monarch remains focused on ensuring it continues to support the environment by minimising plastic across its product packaging.

“We are continuously looking for improvements in this area and we are also in the process of reviewing environmentally friendly options in the design, development and manufacture of our paint accessories. At Monarch, we also continue to develop and launch products that offer consumers and tradies solutions to their painting problems. We have several new products in the pipeline for F19/20, which are aimed at making painting easier and more efficient.”

“Within the painting industry, we have also found that consumers are more than happy to try new products. However, these new products need to help get the job done, and done right. Our experience indicates that once a consumer or tradie has used a Monarch Brush or roller, they never look back.  Brand loyalty becomes a major purchasing factor as they know they can trust the product and outcome. For Monarch, it is all about the experience of feeling like a professional when you are painting – even when it is your first time,” Ms Wee said.

With the major seasons for the paint accessories market being spring and Easter, the warmer weather will see more people engaging in home renovations at home and wanting to complete their painting projects.  

“We have seen more popular painting projects taking off in the lead up to spring, like furniture restoration, as well as outdoor fence and deck applications. It is for this reason that Monarch will have some new products launched over the next 12 months, including products aimed at making paint preparation easier,” Ms Wee said.

With Monarch remaining well known in the industry for its ability to design, develop and manufacture premium quality paint accessories, Ms Wee said the company’s competitive advantage is its ability to provide end users with the right tool for the job.  

“Not only do we offer a wide range of products, we also offer the service and advice levels needed to help with any painting project. Premium quality products equal a professional quality finish every time.  At Monarch, we pride ourselves on ensuring the end user has the right and most positive experience when painting,” she said.

With the paint accessories market remaining highly competitive in Australia, high volumes of low cost imported products unfortunately continue to flood the market, according to Ms Wee.

“There are no real standards governing the paint accessories category and whilst many end users live in a disposable world where they buy a brush or roller, use it once and then throw it away, Monarch encourages the use of premium quality products that will give users the professional finish and can also be re-used over and over again,” Ms Wee said.

Ms Wee said Monarch does try to continually educate end users, and give them reasons why they should always buy premium quality accessories, especially if they want the job done right the first time around. There will always be strong competition in this category, which is why it is up to local companies like Monarch to protect the market and its consumers, Ms Wee said.