By: Kamlesh Shah – Managing Director, Basco Products (K) Ltd
By: Kamlesh Shah – Managing Director, Basco Products (K) Ltd. [Photo/ Courtesy]

The paints and coatings sector is one of the most competitive industries in East Africa. Many manufacturers are striving to tailor-make their products and services to the needs of the discerning and well-informed consumer and to remain competitive in the market.

According to the Frost & Sullivan’s Decorative Paints and Coatings Market for Kenya and Tanzania Forecast to 2020, it was established that the total market size stood at 66.2-million liters in 2015. The figure was projected to add 91.5 million liters by 2020 and well over an extra 20 million liters in 2021. The combined market value for both countries in 2018 was estimated at 188 million US dollars, with Kenya accounting for a larger share owing to the construction boom witnessed in Nairobi and other major towns.

One important driver of this growth in the sector is the adoption of new technologies. The industry, over the years, has realized various innovations that have poised it for success, particularly in meeting dynamic customer perceptions.

The sector is also in the phase of transitioning to technologies that have been gradually evolving in other parts of the Globe for almost three decades. These technologies have made it possible for manufacturers and suppliers to meet the growing demand largely driven by economic growth, the resurgence of innovation and the expansion of the markets in Asia and the Middle East.

These technologies have seen the emergence of innovations such as waterborne Epoxy (Floor) coatings, waterborne metal primers and top coat high-solids coatings.

The recent innovations in nanotechnology have enabled paint manufacturers to develop products that can exhibit UV durability, Anti-microbial or self-cleaning properties.

Over the coming years, environmental policies such as regulations to minimize air pollution will continue to be a driving force behind the adoption of new coating technologies; unfortunately, consumer preference continuous to take priority over sobriety. Thankfully for the more intelligent architectural coatings market, waterbornes will likely continue to grow as consumers demand coatings that are free from harmful odors and potentially hazardous raw materials, read Lead-free and low VOC.

From these innovations, it is clear that the painting industry is inevitably shifting from a model based solely on mass-producing tonnes of standard liters of paint. Successful companies are not just selling paints and coatings, but also their key attributes such as durability, protection, color, vibrancy, eco-friendliness, environment friendly, anti-microbial, anti-Fungal among others. Amid this transformation, companies can identify new potential customers who could also benefit from the data being generated.

Of course, Kenya, and East Africa, in general, might still have a long way to go in adopting data monetization and coating-as-a-service business models to drive future growth, but there is no doubt that companies in the region are leveraging the digital transformation in an endeavor to stay ahead, for example, tinting-while-U- wait in both standard as well as specialized Texture finishes, online ordering systems.

Moreover, the growth in end-user industrial consumers is expected to continue driving the paints and coatings market. The Covid 19 p******c has taken its toll but the economy is slowly but surely picking up.

That said, given the high importance of sustainability, it remains imperative that companies establish or enhance their corporate sustainability policies, regardless of the ages, sizes, and locations of the companies, focusing on ensuring that the needs of all stakeholders are addressed while using resources responsibly. While at it, the policies should include specific components, such as responsible and stable sourcing from suppliers having a low carbon footprint policy employee e*******n, climate protection, and energy efficiency.

In the Wash, what does come through with great emphasis and clarity is the need for innovation in a well-monitored and controlled atmosphere with full cognizance of the challenges posed by climate change.

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