Paul Roughan, Trade Merchants Sales Director Dulux Trade is BMBI’s Expert for Paint
Firstly, I can’t quite believe that as I write, we are in the middle of May. Time has just flown by and so much happened in Q1 this year.
We went back into lockdown in January and with furlough extended and businesses closed, DIY home improvements continued to drive growth in the first quarter in our consumer channels. For Trade, Q1 ended +8.3% versus the prior year quarter according to the British Coatings Federation sales indicator. Each month was very different, with a decline in January, modest growth in February, and March driving the growth as it Lockdown 3.0 laps Lockdown 1.0.
Feedback from a number of specialist Decorators’ Merchants was that consumer footfall was still high in January and February. Specialist decorator footfall started to increase from March and I do hope to report in Q2 that this trend continues.
For Trade specifically, Q1 saw strong growth of masonry paint and exterior Woodcare in preparation for the season. Interior trim finishes, primers and undercoats also helped to boost sales. Emulsion paints is the biggest category and the anticipated growth in the New Housebuild sector is likely to be one of the reasons for the rise in Contract Matt sales.
The main story for Q1 is supply. Raw material availability and price increases, force majeure, Covid restrictions, Brexit importation and freezing weather conditions all impacting the ability to supply normal demand, let alone increased demand. Packaging is an ongoing significant challenge.
So with the general volatility likely to continue, and we all know the reasons, what can we all do to best service the market, our merchant and end user customers? Accurate forecasting is key. Demand continues to be greater than supply. Longer-term forecasting just must be the standard way of operating to allow the whole supply chain to be as efficient and effective as possible.