Dulux Comment: Q1 2024

In the first quarter, the trade paint market experienced a marginal decline of -0.1% in the moving annual total (MAT) growth, attributed to a notable -7.1% decrease in year-on-year volume sales. This dip was primarily influenced by the delayed onset of projects due to extremely wet and subdued weather.

With these projects gaining momentum in April, there’s growing optimism for a resurgence in construction market activity. Many homeowners have navigated extreme volatility in the housing and mortgage market, and increasingly clearer signals of future dynamics are providing increasing confidence. With only one anticipated interest rate reduction in 2024, many face the big decision of whether to move or stay put for another year. As a result, numerous individuals are resuming their painting endeavours, signalling a potential for market recovery in the months ahead.

The effects of a high bank rate continue to mute housing market activity, resulting in fewer housing transactions, especially for newly built properties. While this has led to reports of less paint being used in the new housing sector, recovery has been good for volume used in non-housing and commercial settings. Volume growth is strongest for offices, education and existing social housing repair and maintenance.

Decorative trade paint volume sales to builders’ merchants finished down double digits in Q1 year-on-year, indicating the potential for greater growth in the channel, as it currently lags the performance of the total market.

Reports of workloads from professional decorators remain elevated for the time being, with many exterior projects having been delayed, adding to our expectations that the trade paint market will be robust through 2024 in terms of volumes.

Being close to their customers, their optimism may be justified. GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index showed a further 2-point improvement in consumer confidence in April, following a positive March. While the Overall Index remains negative, all five underlying measures were significantly better this April than they were last April. This includes a +2 score for how consumers feel about their personal finances in the next 12 months, and a 2-point improvement in the Major Purchase Index, which includes larger home improvement projects.

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