One of my favorite parts of both the American Coatings Conference (ACC) and the European Coatings Conference (ECC) is the live audience poll the organizers conduct during the plenary session. Very similar questions are asked each year, usually on important industry trends, R&D drivers and pressing topics, so it is interesting to see how the answers compare from year to year as the industry evolves.

This year, Sabine Bischoff, Director, European Coatings Vincentz Network, conducted the live survey of ACC attendees. Below are a few of the questions that were asked, and how the results compared with the last survey taken at the 2018 ACC. The 2018 results are in parentheses next to each 2022 answer. It is important to note that with international travel still challenging or even prohibited due to the pandemic, the attendee pool at this year’s event was different than in years past. But it does seem clear that sustainability has become more important to coatings manufacturers, and raw material sourcing/pricing is still a big concern. The importance of functional/smart coatings and UV/EB coatings saw a bump this year as well.

Which market is the most important for you?

  • North America: 88% (67%)
  • Western Europe: 7% (8%)
  • Asia/Pacific: 5% (17%)
  • Eastern Europe: 0% (2%)
  • South and Central America: 0% (5%)
  • Africa: 0% (1%)


What is your most pressing topic at work right now?

  • Raw Material Prices and Availability: 32% (24%)
  • Sustainability: 32% (Not on the survey in 2018. “Customer Demands” received 33% that year.)
  • Identifying New Markets: 17% (30%)
  • Fulfillment of Regulations: 3% (7%)
  • Automation/Digitization of Production Processes: 1% (6%)


Which of the following technologies do you judge as the most important future technologies in your industry sector?

  • Waterborne: 44% (53%)
  • Functional/Smart: 34% (22%)
  • UV/EB: 10% (6%)
  • High-Solids: 7% (14%)
  • Powder: 5% (5%)


What has the biggest impact on your R&D activities?

  • Customer Requests: 37% (57%)
  • Sustainability: 23% (13%)
  • Raw Material Availability: 18% (7%)
  • Cost Reduction: 13% (13%)
  • Legislation and Regulation: 9% (10%)


Which of the following regulations is currently most important for your company?

  • VOC: 56% (60%)
  • Labeling and Hazard Communication: 24% (21%)
  • Food Contact: 14% (14%)
  • Indoor Air Quality: 6% (5%)


Sustainability was clearly a hot topic for many of the exhibitors at the American Coatings Show. You can learn about many of the latest new technologies in my ACS wrap-up article in this issue. The PCI staff had many great meetings at the ACS, and we’re already looking forward to the next event, which will be held again in Indianapolis April 30-May 2, 2024.