It is July, which means that PCI is publishing our article outlining the top 10 global and the top 25 North American coatings manufacturers, ranked according to 2019 coatings sales. The global ranking order remains the same, and if asked to characterize the climate in 2019, I would say it was stable to good. Sherwin-Williams, AkzoNobel, Nippon Paint, RPM, Asian Paints and Jotun reported an increase in sales for 2019, while PPG, Axalta, BASF and Kansai saw slight decreases in sales for the year. Among the top 25 North American coatings manufacturers, all but two companies reported either an increase in sales or sales similar to 2018.

However, a glance at the headlines day after day makes one wonder if the world even existed before 2020. COVID-19 has created disruptions across the globe. A quick review of first-quarter reports of some of the top coatings suppliers paints the picture. While Sherwin-Williams saw an increase in sales for the first quarter of 2020, due to higher paint sales in North America, the company anticipates a drop in sales in the second quarter. In their reports for the first three months of 2020, Axalta, AkzoNobel and PPG reported sales decreases, while RPM International posted an increase. All of these companies predicted lower sales for the second quarter, with the hardest-hit month being April, and sales moving up in May and June. The general consensus seems to be that improvement for the remainder of 2020 hangs on how successfully economies open back up.

I started writing the PCI 25 back in 2008. My first time collecting sales numbers went as expected: sales were up, companies were growing, and acquisitions were plentiful. Then the Great Recession happened and a very different story emerged. People were on edge. Companies struggled. Eventually the economy recovered, and business started to grow again. Privately held coatings manufacturers that saw challenges during that period continued to give me updates as their sales numbers increased. Why am I revisiting that time? Because in the midst of what feels like a very uncertain moment, it is helpful to remember that there have been disruptions before, even in the recent past. Challenges happen. Companies and the people who run them persist.

Check out our Global Top 10 and PCI 25 article, and stay healthy!