Dulux Trade Comment: Q4 2021

It was a tough but positive end to the year, as labour and material supply issue challenges continued into Q4, while the arrival of the Omicron variant and the subsequent restrictions and light lockdown impacted sales. Reports of softening footfall also came to light across a number of merchant groups. We saw significant raw material price increases that could not be absorbed too.

Overall 2021 ended at +1.8% volume growth for Trade paint versus 2020, and making it flat against 2019. The constraints mentioned above impacted the previous, more positive Q3  forecast, however, 2021 Trade volumes were still the highest on record.

Retail paint market volumes ended circa -10% versus 2020. Not a huge surprise given the big spike in volumes in 2020, but it’s also worth noting that the October peak season was more muted than expected. Nevertheless, Retail market volumes ended above 2019 levels.

Digital sales have been the focus for many throughout 2021, as people took on board the learnings from those merchants who saw the benefits of a robust digital offer during the 2020 lockdown. Given this background, it’s been interesting to see the number of new physical store openings across the Trade market, which is in stark contrast to what we have seen across Retail.

So where have we seen growth in the Trade paint market in 2021? It was no surprise really to see the biggest volumes come from New House Build, Commercial and Private Housing RMI.

If we look at category performance, 77% of Trade paint sold was emulsion, up 1%. This share has been captured from the masonry category which has suffered this year, most likely due to exterior volumes that were pulled forward into 2020 alongside long term category decline.

For the trim category, interior satin finish grew significantly, offset by a decline in solvent borne gloss. A change in trend, but this is also reflective of the importance of sustainability and a change in attitude. Which brings to mind a key question for merchants: do your planograms and stock profile reflect the trends we are seeing?

Overall, the category finished 2021 up 3.3ML, a positive end to a challenging year.

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