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According to the players spoken to for this feature, the market appears to have been kind with consistent growth across both paint and paint tools and accessories in the last 12 months.
Valspar Marketing Manager Lynley Twyman reports a “steady market” for Valspar’s DIY products and is “looking forward to driving more excitement and innovation with resultant activity for all our partners in the next 12 months.”
Likewise for Haydn Brush Company, with Marketing Manager Paul Yaxley noticing “significant organic growth across the country with the Auckland region being the standout performer.”
The release of a new range of Leeda brushes and its acceptance and endorsement by the NZ Master Painters Association has certainly helped business with Yaxley reporting that it became the company’s “top selling premium range almost overnight” (see sidebar).
Also riding high on strong sales is Darryl Patterson, Sales Manager for Award Concepts and its Wagner spray paint range: “The last 12 months have been very strong for power painting and we have seen increased growth over last year which was very good for us. This has been driven by our new innovative products that make it easier to spray paint.”
Patterson also feels that Award Concepts’ commitment to a strong social media and online consumer education presence has helped the performance of its products, particularly the Wagner range, in the last year.
“A lot more effort has gone into social media within the Wagner group with Facebook and the use of YouTube to help with the use of the new products and training. A customer can buy the product in the morning and go on YouTube if they need any more advice, and have the job finished that afternoon or sooner which is great!”
DON’T SLEEP AT THE WHEEL
Is it all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows though? Even a boom market has to provide some issue for the players in the game, especially if they want to be prepared for the bust.
Lynley Twyman outlines some of Valspar’s major concerns with the current market: “One of the key challenges for the paint category is continuing to encourage consumers to maintain their homes on a regular basis ensuring that the refresh jobs are easier and less daunting.
“Additionally ensuring that consumers have access to good information and are making smart choices in their coatings (and having good experiences) is a constant opportunity – sometimes buying the cheapest paint is the worst value experience.”
Looking further afield Twyman sees other social and economic factors impacting on the DIY category.
“The other area of challenge is the rising cost of home ownership and the impact on people owning their own homes (as opposed to rental investments) means that all those people might be watching reality TV shows but are missing out on their own opportunities to personalise their residential spaces. As consumers look for alternative ways to personalise their homes, this may shape some aspects of the coatings market.”
For Darryl Patterson at Award Concepts, poor quality products giving consumers a poor experience is top of mind.
“Customers trying low quality spray units and getting a bad experience with the end result is a major concern. It’s not good for everybody in the category,” he says. Bearing this in mind Award Concepts wants to take a proactive approach to the problem.
“Training and education are still a big priority for us. The more people that have a better experience with spray painting, the more comfortable they will feel about taking on bigger projects,” he says.
Patterson’s main concern is that DIY customers may be missing out on the benefits of paint sprayers, particularly the new generation products that make this section of the market more approachable.
“The new Wagner products we have are making life easier for customers to paint as it’s quicker, there’s no thinning, they can paint straight out of the can and it’s so easy to clean.
“We are very lucky with Wagner as they have a big research and development department and in the New Year we will have some more innovation coming to New Zealand from them.”
STILL ROOM TO GROW
Also looking to 2016 with an air of optimism is Paul Yaxley, who not only forecasts a highly active market boosted by tough promotional activity but also promises new releases of premium primers from Haydn Brush in the coming year.
“I feel that the hardware ‘war’ that will invariably wage amongst the big players will fuel the DIY market to new levels and we believe the economy is robust and the primary drivers of growth will remain intact for the foreseeable future,” he says.
So there’s an optimistic tone to this category but, as ever, growth doesn’t just happen. It requires encouragement, innovation and promotion.
However, according to what we are hearing, with many of these factors already in train or in place, painting & decorating season holds the promise of being another high flier for the channel.