Global Industry Overview: Paints and Coatings

The global paint industry produces paints and coatings for architectural (known in Europe as decorative), marine, packaging, transportation equipment, and many additional end uses. Industry products also include varnishes, lacquers, enamels, and shellac, as well as chemical paint removers and brush cleaners. Makers of pigments alone are discussed in Chemicals, Industrial Inorganic and Chemicals, Industrial Organic based on the specific pigment's chemical composition.

Industry Snapshot

The paint industry has been a relatively small but rapidly growing segment of the broad chemical industry. Environmental pressures and regulations have been some of the biggest challenges faced by the industry. Skyrocketing prices of basic raw materials have also been a perennial concern, although by the late 1990s prices had stabilized somewhat. To counter increasing prices, paint manufacturers and suppliers worked together to formulate improved paints to justify price premiums. A simultaneous challenge for the industry was to incorporate the use of environmentally-friendly materials and abide by the regulations and pressures on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Coatings generally were moving away from being solvent-based toward being water-based as of the mid-2000s.