The global demand for paint and coatings is predicted to rise 3.7 percent per year to 54.7-million metric tons in 2020, with a value of US $193-billion. So says a new report, World Paint and Coatings, from the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, OH. Advances will be driven by strong economic growth in developing regions, particularly in the massive Asia-Pacific market, where robust gains in building construction activity will boost sales of architectural paint. Suppliers to developing regions are also expected to benefit from bright prospects for manufacturing output and infrastructure spending, which Freedonia says will spur sales of industrial coatings used in production and upkeep of motor vehicles, furniture, marine vessels, and roads and bridges. However, analyst Carolyn Zulandt stated that “overall gains will be limited by the increased use of higher quality coatings and more efficient application processes in both the developed and developing world, reducing the volume necessary to complete a given paint job.” A significant slowdown in China’s economic output and construction spending will also hinder stronger overall growth. The fastest growth is forecast for India, where paint use will be fueled by rapidly expanding investment to build or update homes, commercial businesses and industrial facilities. In China, which accounts for over one-third of the global market, a growing middle class will continue to boost demand for architectural paint, while, the study says, healthy gains in manufacturing output are expected to bolster industrial coatings sales. Among developed nations, the United States will post the best performance as building construction activity and fixed investment spending advance at solid rates. Western Europe is expected to see a turnaround in paint sales, spurred by improved economic output and a recovering construction sector. Coatings suppliers worldwide will continue to reduce the VOC content of their products due to intensifying regulatory pressure. As a result, water-based paints and powder coatings are expected to gain market share at the expense of solvent-based products, especially in countries such as China, where environmental legislation is becoming increasingly strict. Nonetheless, solventborne formulations will continue to dominate a number of specialty applications, including marine coatings, automotive refinishes and corrosion protection coatings.