Solvent-free paints are becoming a must-have for painters

One of the key trends in European professional paint industry is the increasing demand for more sustainable products. Painters are particularly keen on applying products which are free of solvents, as these are considered bad for personal health. At the same time, preservative-free products are much less in demand, as painters prioritise the long lastingness of the paint job over the personal benefit of using this healthier type of product. These are some of the findings of the Painter Insight Monitor 2020, conducted by USP Marketing Consultancy among professional painting companies in 10 major European markets.

‘Sustainability’ for painters needs to incorporate ‘personal health’

Based on the results of the Painter Insight Monitor 2020, the demand of eco-friendly products is increasing throughout Europe. This demand is mainly coming from professional painters themselves, but not so much from their customers. Painters are increasingly focused on working with products that do not negatively impact their own personal health, but  have a clear interest in products that do not harm the environment. In order for a sustainable paint manufacturer to appeal to this core target audience, a ‘sustainable’ product should really offer both these benefits at the same time (59%).  For 26% it suffices to just focus on ‘personal health benefits’, and only 10% of all painters actually care about the environment, but not so much about their personal health. Especially painters in the Netherlands (44%), Belgium (33%), and Italy (33%) seem particularly focused on their personal health/ well-being.

‘Solvent-free’ is much wanted…

Zooming in on different types of sustainability benefits that paints can offer; it becomes apparent that a ‘solvent-free’ product should already be more rule than exception. In countries like Italy, France, Germany, and Spain, painters will hardly even accept products that cannot deliver this. Again, this demand is coming from painters themselves and is not so much enforced by their customers, who seem quite indifferent about what chemical substances the applicator uses. France is an exception to this, as French end-users have clear requirements for their painter regarding the use of solvent-free products.

… but ‘preservative-free’ not really

With the exception of Germany, Italy, and Denmark, professional painters do not really pay much attention to whether their products are free of preservatives. The awareness and importance of preservative-free products is thus clearly behind on ‘solvent-free’. An explanation for this is that painters prioritise the long-lastingness of the paint job over the personal benefit of using this healthier type of product.

The big goal: Make sustainable paints better!

Any innovation which enables the quality of sustainable products to deliver a better (solvent-based-like) quality would be very much appreciated by European painters. This is clear, as this is the number one answer when asked about desired innovations and services, throughout all countries.

“Water-borne paints just do not cover well enough and therefore you need to apply multiple layers. This is expensive and therefore should be improved.” [Professional painter in Spain]

For more detailed information, we refer you to the Painter Insight Monitor 2020.