After three straight years of declining sales, U.S. manufacturers of paints and coatings posted a solid gain of nearly 4% in 2003, and solid growth is expected in the near future, according to a new study.

Buoyant demand for architectural coatings, coatings for military applications and a robust export market, all of which remained strong during the recession, will be joined by a resurgence in other market segments, including OEM product finishes and special-purpose coatings. These are among the findings in a new market research report, The Outlook for the Paints and Coatings Industry, published by Business Trend Analysts Inc., a New York firm that has been tracking the industry and providing studies for 25 years.

According to the report, sales of paints and coatings are expected to post gains similar to those seen during the mid-1990s, as the economy once again enters into a period of post-recession expansion. Volume is expected to reach just under 2 billion gallons by 2012. Dollar sales will climb at better than 4% annually during the period, reaching $25.3 billion.

Of major importance to the industry is the growth in demand for U.S.-manufactured coatings abroad. The global market for paints and coatings is currently pegged at $66.4 billion. From 1996 to 2002, U.S. exports rose at a rate in excess of 6%, and they are forecasted to post similar gains for the balance of the decade. Currently estimated at $1.5 billion annually, foreign markets will account for better than 10% of domestic production by the end of the decade, with Asian markets being particularly strong.

The new study provides detailed historical, current and projected sales data for dozens of paint and coating market segments. Export and import data, on a product-by-product and country-by-country basis, is also provided. Other topics covered in detail include end-use analysis, advertising trends, patterns of distribution, merger and acquisition activity, price trends, new products and technologies, raw materials, market shares and company news.

For more information on the report, call 800-866-4648, or e-mail