Global Paints & Coatings Market: Waterborne Technology’s Lucrative Foothold

Paints & Coatings Market - Inkwood Research

Paints & coatings comprise a mixture of components, such as a carrier (water, solvent, or both), a film-forming element in the coating, such as polyurethanes, alkyds, and oils, as well as pigments or dyes that add color. Although their primary purpose is protecting the surface to which they are applied, paints & coatings also add aesthetic value to interiors and exteriors. According to Inkwood Research, the global paints & coatings market is set to record a CAGR of 4.97% during the forecast period of 2023 to 2032, capturing a revenue share of $241.624 billion by 2032.

Waterborne Paints & Coatings: What’s the Appeal?

While some wooden houses, bridges, signs, and stores were painted as early as the 18th century, it wasn’t until recently that mass manufacturing rendered a broad variety of paints universally indispensable. Today, paints & coatings are utilized in interior and exterior house painting, planes, appliances, boats, automobiles, furniture, and other surfaces where aesthetics and protection are essential.

In this regard, waterborne coatings constitute a major percentage as solvents, binders, pigments, and performance additives, based on the applications’ requirements. Also, waterborne is the dominant type of paints & coatings technology utilized globally and is expected to capture the highest share of 43.23% by 2032. (Source: Inkwood Research)

The market share of waterborne paints & coatings has grown rapidly over the years, given their favorable properties such as increased availability, fast-drying nature, and lower VOC levels. Moreover, they entail a wide variety of resin types, like acrylic, urethane, polyester, alkyd, fluoropolymer, epoxy, and waterborne powders. As per Inkwood Research, the acrylic segment, under the resin type category, is expected to grow with the fastest CAGR of 5.11% by 2032, capturing the highest revenue share of 31.35% in 2022.

Waterborne Technology: Market Observations –

  • Waterborne coatings in the architectural (interior/exterior) segment [expected CAGR by 2023: 5.29%] are projected to show healthy growth in the next five years. The growth is mainly driven by the following:
    • Significant investments in infrastructure developments
    • Rise in housing projects
    • Renovation of existing residential and commercial buildings
  • The increasingly eco-friendly nature of waterborne coatings, along with their versatile properties, are boosting their demand across developing economies, primarily in the Asia-Pacific.
    • Accordingly, Asia-Pacific is set to lead and dominate the global paints & coatings market over the forecast period, capturing a revenue share of 38% by 2022 and a CAGR of 5.85% by 2032.
  • Waterborne coatings are commonly required in automotive paints. Aligning with this, there has been a steady shift toward waterborne acrylics, particularly in automotive basecoats, owing to environmental challenges.
    • This factor, in turn, plays a vital role in positioning automotive (OEM) as one of the fastest-growing applications, with a CAGR of 5.15% by 2032.

Painting a Strategic Landscape with Waterborne Technology

The growing focus on environmental sustainability, in addition to stringent government regulations to minimize the use of harmful substances, is anticipated to promote the demand for water-based paints during the forecast period. This has also encouraged companies to increase their investments and advance their strategic ventures in waterborne paints, predominantly given the advantages and subsequent profits they yield.

For example –

  • In January 2022, PPG Industries (United States) announced that it would invest over $10 million to expand the production capacity of automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) coatings at its site in Weingarten, Germany. The expansion was completed in Q2 2022, in addition to its existing facility with a capacity to produce more than 5,000 metric tons of waterborne basecoats annually.
  • In October 2022, The Sherwin-Williams Company (United States) announced an agreement to acquire an Italian designer, distributor, and manufacturer of industrial wood coatings, Industria Chimica Adriatica SpA (ICA). The latter’s focus on innovative waterborne as well as solvent liquid coatings technology, including an expanding portfolio of BIO water-based coatings, is set to provide the company with numerous opportunities to accelerate profitable growth, globally.
  • LANXESS (Germany), a Specialty chemicals company, established a new manufacturing line for the production of water-based compounds in Nantong, China, in 2021. Typical application areas for these products entail flat materials for automotive interiors, i.e., instrument panels, as well as door and sear panels.

 Michael Timm (Head of Marketing & Development Cast Elastomers at URE) states, “As the automotive industry will continue to switch from solvent-based to environment-friendly water-based coatings, we see strong potential with attractive growth rates.” (Source)

  • In May 2020, Foseco (India) developed a new fast-drying waterborne coating, SEMCO FD. It enables foundries to utilize coatings with significantly higher solids content, thus offering greater protection against casting defects. Subsequently, SEMCO FD yields advantages such as an accelerated drying process, a tremendous improvement in the quality of the working environment, lower energy consumption, and improved foundry profitability.
  • BASF (Germany) and Nippon Paint China, a leading coatings manufacturer, collaboratively launched an eco-friendly industrial packaging in August 2022. With Joncryl® High-Performance Barrier, the water-based acrylic dispersion by BASF as the barrier material, the novel packaging material is commercialized for constructing Nippon Paint’s dry mortar products.
  • Arkema (France), a global chemical company, acquired Polimeros Especiales, a Mexico-based producer of waterborne acrylic resins, in September 2022. Polimeros Especiales manufactures high-performance waterborne resins for diverse markets, such as construction, architectural and decorative paints, pressure-sensitive adhesives, and textiles. The move is set to strengthen the company’s position in Mexico, a fast-growing region, as well as its key offering in solvent-free solutions.

Over the years, the driving force for the development of waterborne technology has been environmental, with water-based paints & coatings offering a holistic approach to sustainability. They also provide high color retention over time, in addition to generating limited odors.

Consequently, these characteristics increase the demand for waterborne solutions across myriad applications, thus contributing to the growth of the global paints & coatings market during the forecast period.

By Shruti Vanjare


What is UV-curable technology for waterborne coatings?

UV-curable technology for waterborne coatings is a surface treatment that is either cured by UV radiation or shields the underlying material from the radiation’s adverse effects. The technology has also received significant traction in industrial research.

What are some of the challenges faced by the global paints & coatings market?

Uncertainties associated with raw material prices, geopolitical tensions, and regulatory issues are among the key challenges faced by the global paints & coatings market.