Dulux Trade Comment: Q3 2020

Paul Roughan, Trade Merchants Sales Director Dulux Trade is BMBI’s Expert for Paint.

In Q2 during lockdown, Britain fell in love with decorating again, with ‘do it yourself’ booming to the detriment of ‘do it for me’. This continued into Q3. In July, the announcement of temporary reduced stamp duty rates created a boom in the housing market. Lots of decorating to showcase the ‘For Sale’ home, and lots of decorating when people moved into their new homes. The retail market had a bumper Q3 with masonry and woodcare sales rocketing.

The Trade market started to open in the mid to latter part of Q2. House build sites were one of the fastest sectors to recover. Private Housing RMI, which was notably impacted in Q2 as traders were unable to work in people’s homes during lockdown, quickly recovered. Homeowner research told us 26% delayed decorating projects despite the boom in DIY. Fantastic for the market everyone says! However, demand massively outstripped supply, and continues to do so. If enough paint could be made, there aren’t enough cans to put it in. It’s the perfect storm and that’s the theme for Q3 as Britain continues to love decorating.

Research we conducted with trade professionals in August is interesting:

  • 84% of trade paint appliers had been impacted by COVID.
  • 75% indicated that work had picked up but were nervous about the rest of the year.
  • 23% had temporarily changed merchant, but in the main have since returned to their usual merchant.
  • 47% said they hadn’t changed the products or places they were buying from.

For builders’ merchants, there’s a huge opportunity in decorating. The Trade paint market in August was tough – down 8% compared to the previous year. In builders’ merchants, paint was down 18%, obviously underperforming the market. Generalists remain upbeat about work post-lockdown, but amazingly and worryingly, only 15% of builders buy paint in a builders’ merchant. They are walking out the door and buying paint elsewhere. What an opportunity!

Finally, Brexit – deal or no deal and the uncertainty. Recent research shows that 20% of the 400,000+ paint appliers in the UK would consider leaving. Something for us all to think about on how we shape our businesses as we move into 2021.

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