Chilean Paint Market Evolves
Chile¡¯s paint sector continues to report positive growth despite the economic downturn.
By Charles Thurston
The Chilean paint market is returning to growth at a steady pace as manufacturers rationalize production, focus on niche marketing and elevate quality product lines. According to a recent forecast by Oxford Economics, the $220 million paint industry in Chile averaged 9.3 percent expansion over the five-year period ending in 2009. The analysts¡¯ forecast for the next five years is 5.5 percent average expansion.
Given the global economic slowdown last year, Chile¡¯s paint industry still was touted as the 10th fastest growing in 2009, despite logging a mere 0.2 percent expansion on the heels of double-digit growth in 2008. The industry represents only 1.1 percent of all manufacturing in Chile, producing some 20 million gallons per year.
Architectural paint sales represent about 60 percent of total sales in Chile, while industrial sales represent about 40 percent, according to Fitch Ratings. Among leaders in the sale of architectural paint for the Chilean do-it-yourself (DIY) market are Pinturas Ceresita and Sherwin-Williams, according to Euromonitor International. Homecenter Sodimac and Centosud¡¯s Homecenter are the largest DIY retailers in the country. And at retailer Construmart, an official was recently quoted saying that paint represents 50 percent of the chains¡¯ total sales.
Other national paint companies include Chilcorrofin, Pinturas Sipa and Soquina. In June, Ceresita and Sipa merged, with plans for the former to focus on the architectural segment and the latter to focus on the industrial segment. One analyst suggests that the Ceresita-Sipa partnership is estimated to represent a 35 percent share of the total Chilean paint and coatings market, edging out both Sherwin-Williams and Tricolor as the largest player.
The paint and coatings sector should expand rapidly this year as recovery from the widespread February earthquake continues on new investments. Over the first half of this year, the Chilean economy grew by 6.3 percent. Reductions in the price of oil and other raw materials have begun to help some companies recover financial margins, like Tricolor, Fitch reports.
Among new product launches, Ceresita is now offering an anti-bacterial formulation, "Bio-Pruf," enhanced with additives made by Rohm & Haas. Similarly, Sherwin-Williams has introduced a formulation that includes an insect repellent. And Sipa has introduced a thermal insulating paint, Aisla-Tex.
Behr has become the latest entrant to the Chilean paint market in September 2009. The company¡¯s paint is being sold in the Sodimac chain, where Behr has installed its ColorSmart planning stations.
Apart from traditional points of sale, Chilean paint companies also are moving into the electronic markets of social media. Ceresita¡¯s website, for example, has a variety of Facebook, Youtube and Twitter postings and links. Web analyst Alexa reports that the website received two million hits over a recent quarter.
Social projects remain a key form of marketing for Chilean paint companies. Following the February earthquake, for example, Pinturas Sipa rolled out a program to help hardware stores replace damaged paint cans and other materials, with offers to help upgrade sales aids.