WEST CALDWELL, NJ - According to a study by the consulting firm of Kusumgar, Nerlfi & Growney the U.S. paint and coatings industry sold 9.5 billion dry pounds of product valued at $23.8 billion in 2006. The industry has rebounded from the recession of 2001, with modest growth in the years 2003 through 2006. Dry pound volume is up 15% from 2001, but dollar sales are up 30%. Coating prices have risen sharply the last few years as the industry passed through some of the steep price increases in raw materials. Most raw material costs are linked to commodity prices of oil and gas, which have surged.

Architectural coatings continue to lead the coating segment with sales of $9.5 billion in 2006. Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) consumed $8.6 billion of coatings and the special purpose segment $5.7 billion. Regulations continue to drive developments in coating technology, particularly in the architectural and special purpose coating segments. Recent state regulations, and those under development, are forcing increased usage of low-VOC coatings for some applications. Solvents that have low-ozone-forming potential are being promoted as a means of reducing smog.

The top six resin technologies combined represented about 85% of the coating sales in 2006. Acrylics are the leading coating type, capturing about one-quarter of the sales dollars in 2006. Acrylics are well established in both water- and solvent-based coating technologies. Vinyl acrylics follow with one-fifth of the value, nearly all in water-based formulations. Polyurethanes are higher performance coatings that have grown somewhat faster than the other large-volume coating types. Alkyds are primarily solvent-based, but water-based versions have grown in usage. Solvent-based alkyds are increasingly being challenged by new VOC regulations. Resins are the largest volume and value component of coatings.

For more information on the study, e-mail info@kusumgar-nerlfi-growney.com.