Paint by the numbers

REASON FOR PURCHASE

Across the home channel, retailers and distributors point to painting as the most common home improvement project. It stands to reason. Everybody can paint a room—a low-cost, high-impact project. Exterior painting can be more ambitious, but according to the consumer research presented below from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group, the purchase motivators are similar inside and out.

Channel analysis

BREAKDOWN OF TOTAL PAINT SALES BY CHANNEL
Channel200820092010
WHC55.5%57.6%58.1%
Specialty paint stores19.618.620.0
Mass merchants7.68.27.1
Hardware stores6.96.65.3
Department stores4.14.24.0
Other6.34.85.5

Analysis: The warehouse home centers dominate the market, and the domination has shown steady growth over the past three years. According to NPD Group’s director of home improvement Mark Delaney, the specialty store performance is notable. “In a down economy, it’s reasonable to expect specialty stores to lose share,” he said. “But here we see them holding their own at 20% in 2010.”

Purchase motivators

REASON RETAILER SHOPPED
ReasonInterior PaintExterior Paint
Brand/model35.1%36.8%
Price27.229.1
Close to home23.818.6
Availability13.815.5

Analysis: The purchase motivators of “price” and “brand” run neck-and-neck in most categories measured by NPD. But brand leads clearly in paint. “It just goes to show people are inclined to spend a little more for a brand they trust when it comes to color and paint,” Delaney said. “If you’re a retailer, here’s an area that’s maybe a little less price-sensitive than most.”

Demographic analysis

2010 PAINT SALES BY AGE GROUP
AgeTotal paintInterior paintExterior paint
18-3427.7%28.0%27.0%
35-4420.121.317.6
45-5425.225.225.1
55-6416.415.518.2
65+10.710.012.1

HARDWARE STORE PAINT SALES BY INCOME BRACKET

Income groupWHCHardware storesMass
Under $15k6.7%8.4%16.0%
$15k-$30k12.614.622.9
$30k-$45k13.211.416.0
$45k-$60k12.515.915.6
$60k-$75k11.115.77.7
$75k-$100k14.610.97.9
$100k-$150k19.916.49.0
$150k+9.36.65.0

Analysis: As one might expect, the mass channel’s sweet spot is the under-$30,000 demographic, while home centers and hardware stores find their highest percentage of sales in the $100,000-to-$150,000 range.

The 18-to-34 age group bought more paint in 2010 than the other age groups. “Most people are handy enough to pick up a can of paint and begin working,” Delaney said.

Methodolgy: NPD data are based on a monthly tracking of nearly 70 categories and 30,000 opt-in consumers. The 2010 data above come from the 12 months ended June 30, 2010.

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