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The coatings industry did it again. For the year 2005, although the quantity rose only 2.5%, to 1,445.1 million gallons, the value increased to $19,472.7 million for a great finish of 6.7% over 2004. Both the volume and value were all-time annual records for the industry. This was the fourth year in a row of record performance. Even though Architectural coatings led the charge for the year, both Product OEM and Special Purpose coatings contributed to the good success. For the fourth quarter, 2005, the total industry increased by 4.0% in volume and 8.9% in value over the previous year's quarter.

The Architectural coatings segment increased 6.0% in volume shipped for the year to 857.7 million gallons, and the shipment value increased by 7.7% to $9,291.4 million. The segment has been setting records each year since 1999. The continuing housing boom, new construction and resales, has really helped the segment during these years. For the fourth quarter, Architectural coatings increased 5.0% in volume and 4.6% in value to cap off a superior year with each quarter ahead of the previous year's quarter.

The Product OEM coatings segment declined for the year 3.4% in volume shipped to 413.1 million gallons, but the shipment value increased 8.9% for the year to $6,465.2 million. This was good considering the large increase in imported finished products. For the fourth quarter, the segment increased in volume slightly by 0.9% while shipment value increased 13.5% over the previous year. Shipment value is growing even as the shipment of products slows down.

The Special Purpose coatings segment had an even year, with the shipment volume increasing only 0.6% to 174.3 million gallons and the value increasing 0.7% to $3,716.1 million. The big story with this segment is the comeback realized in the fourth quarter from what had been a rather dismal year. For the fourth quarter, the shipment volume increased 8.2% while the value increased 11.0%. The reason for the fourth quarter increase is not known but, later this year when the final results are published in the Annual Census report, the segment may be seen as having had an even better year. This was the quarter for the Special Purpose coatings to shine and contribute to the total industry excellent results.

Exports of coatings for the year increased 10.8% from last year in value to $1,500.4 million. This represents 7.7% of the total industry shipments. On the other hand, imports of coatings, although still relatively small, increased a significant 94.0% from the previous year to $541.9 million. The imports represent 2.9% of the apparent consumption. The increase in imports should be watched to be sure a trend is not developing in imported paint products.