To view a PDF of the complete feature as it appeared in NZ Hardware Journal magazine, click the download button at the bottom of this page.
Starting things off with what’s happening with the trade and painters around the country I spoke to Phil Wilkinson, National Manager Membership & Workmanship at Master Painters NZ.
Phil can definitely report that the market is still as busy as ever with Master Painters members across the country reporting no let-up in work over summer, with Auckland in particular “on fire”.
Is the ongoing skills shortage that’s continuing to affect the whole channel improved any in Phil’s neck of the woods since 2018?
“The one thing I get asked all the time is ‘where can we find skilled painters?’” he says.
“Well, we are pumping out apprentice’s left right and centre but we are still really struggling to meet the demand for skilled workers.”
A solution offered by some pundits in the industry is to bring in more skilled workers from overseas to fill the need.
Is there any news to report on this front in the paint sector?
“I haven’t heard anything around that, to be honest,” Phil says “and painters certainly aren’t on any skill shortages lists that I’m aware of.”
The other point on the Master Painters’ minds is that, as often seen in times of increased demand, fly-by-night operators have begun to take advantage of the lack of skilled workers, often undercutting the better tradies with cheaper labour costs.
“People also really need to be careful who they are letting on to their property,” warns Phil Wilkinson.
“And with their prized asset being their homes, price shouldn’t be the overriding concern.
“So I’d suggest heading to our website and choosing a Registered Master Painter rather than going to the local newspaper and trying to pick somebody up that you don’t know anything about.”
Wise words indeed.
THE MERCHANT ANGLE
Moving from the coal face to the merchants, I spoke to two key players at PlaceMakers, Gary Woodhouse, General Manager Operations and Marketing and Category Manager, Blair Holland.
Blair describes the last six months in this category as “pretty solid” but with some soggy weather in November and December impacting on some of the regular exterior work that had been expected around this time.
However, with the sun kicking in properly over the last few weeks, he is happy to report they are making up for lost ground over that period.
Winners over the summer have unsurprisingly been decking and wood care related and Blair has also seen colour becoming a larger determiner on consumer choice.
Looking at the bigger picture, Gary Woodhouse says the still very active housing market has had a noted effect on paint sales.
Skyrocketing home valuations have caused massive increases of equity in areas like Auckland and this has seen homeowners invest in long-delayed improvements.
This had seen even some of the smaller regions generate good sales for PlaceMakers in recent years.
Looking at the main issues that PlaceMakers is facing right now, having trained qualified staff to meet the needs of their varied customer base is top of mind for the GM.
He says: “Staffing is always tough for us because our customer base is predominantly trade but we still have that DIY/Weekend warrior customer as well.
“So there is still that expectation from the general public if they come in that we have trained people who are able to offer that knowledge.
“And like all industries, getting good people is a challenge.”
THE SUPPLY SIDE
Moving off the shop floor now I checked in with Selleys for a report on the past year’s performance.
Brand Manager Ranshu Joshi is happy to say that the market is looking very positive for Selleys, reporting growth in most of their categories throughout 2018.
While she admits that the holidays are usually a slightly stagnant period for Selleys products – and that this year has been no exception – the company is otherwise happy with its place in the market and “looking forward to another fantastic year.”
So what does this big player have planned for 2019?
Will it stay in the DIY lane or venture further into the trade market?
“DIY is our the bread and butter and we are 100 per cent committed to that but this year we have put a trade team together so there will be a hard focus on trade going forward,” says Ranshu.
On the flip side of this, Protective Paints, primarily a trade-oriented operation, is venturing into DIY.
John Burkenshaw, the company’s sale rep for the Lower North Island, explains that while predominantly an industrial paint company selling metal primers for structural and infrastructure projects, Protective Paints has also started making available its metal coatings in smaller cans more suited to the retail floor.
When I asked how the products have been received by the DIY market he feels that it is still very early days for the new consumer line, which has only been available since December last year.
“It’s going very slowly but we’re making progress,” he says.
“I mean these things normally take 12 months to come to fruition from the time you get yourself sorted with it, get it in stock, into shops and then see repeat sales.”
On the trade side, however, business has been very stable in John’s catchment. The main driver for much of this has been in earthquake strengthening with Hawkes Bay and the wider Wellington region creating plenty of demand.
“The only ‘bad’ area that I have seen is Taranaki which has taken a dive because the area’s been a bit up and down and the oil industry is a little uncertain about where it stands with Government at the moment.”
Predicting the year ahead, John Burkenshaw is very positive about potential business particularly in Wellington where there seems to be plenty going on.
Projects in the area include the Transmission Gulley motorway project due for completion in 2020 and, the proposed $36 million Rydges Hotel at Wellington Airport.
“There are also conversions from office blocks to apartments and industrial buildings going up everywhere on any available flat land at the moment.
“And little things like the Avatar 2 movie being in the pipeline here also create little blips that help. So I can see this year being quite good.”
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PLASTICS
Also positive about the year ahead is Neil Harray, Director of Ovaboard, a provider of temporary flooring protection solutions.
This relatively niche product seems to have taken off in recent years with Neil reporting that December was one of its busiest months so far.
“That business has been generating in the usual hotspots like Christchurch, Auckland and the wider Wellington area, he says.
“And we are finding that people are using our product for a whole range of different situations now.
“So not only typical construction stuff but also painting and plastering as well.”
Neil is also predicting that if the debate around the use of plastics ever comes to the hardware channel, his products will be in a good position.
“You saw how quickly plastic bags got chucked out of supermarkets, and that might very well flow into the building industry at some stage,” he says.
“Fortunately, with our recyclable product, Ovaboard is well placed to meet those needs.”
One to watch in future?
BRICKS & MORTAR AND DIGITAL?
Moving finally to Haydn Brush Company, Marketing Manager Paul Yaxley has seen significant exponential growth being generated by the big boxes in the past year.
However, he stresses that these large retailers will have to do a juggling act in future, investing equally in bricks and mortar and online paying particular attention to both procurement and delivery.
Paul points particularly to the growing presence of Amazon’s 463,000 square feet fulfilment centre in Sydney as a major reason that New Zealand’s hardware channel needs to have all its digital eggs in a row.
For Haydn’s part, its Marketing Manager says the company is continuing its investment in logistical software, systems and programme interfaces to stay on top of order input, collation and despatch.
“Additional to this, the ability to drop ship on behalf of our business customers is paramount as our product ranges are far wider than any store would elect to carry primarily due to their physical space constraints.”
With all this in play, Paul’s prediction for the year to come is very positive.
“The consumer-driven hardware market’s future looks bright and we are more than ready to be part of that.”
Now check out the following new painting & decorating category products & news...
Closing the gaps!
The Gorilla Pro Gaps range has expanded to deliver a gap filler to suit every task and requirement. Because Gorilla knows that not all building and renovation jobs are the same, it has developed unique gap fillers with different tasks in mind and with different key strengths.
Gorilla Pro Gaps Interior – Specifically designed for internal use, this single component filler offers great adhesion (without a primer) on building materials like concrete, brickwork, painted wood, anodised aluminium and PVC. Excellent for those small repair jobs inside the home.
Gorilla Pro Gaps Exterior – The kiwi climate can be harsh. This high quality, flexible sealant and filler is designed exactly with tough climates and environments in mind. Brilliant for external jobs that will then be painted. After curing it is both weather and rain resistant.
Gorilla Pro Gaps Quick Dry – There are some jobs that just need speed! Quick Dry filler utilises a super quick dry formulation that allows painting to occur just 10 minutes after application, while still delivering the same great finish.
Gorilla Pro Gaps All in One – The ultimate high quality MS Polymer based gap filler, sealant and adhesive in a single cartridge. Delivering high bond strength and an excellent paintable finish (paintable with water based paints). This truly is an “all in one solution”.
Use paint to protect
First of several new Corrodex products from Protective Paints, Galvanised Iron Primer is an anti-corrosive primer for use on galvanised surfaces, including roofs, that has exceptional durability and is quick drying. All surfaces need to be clean, degreased and are free of any corrosion products followed by an overcoat of Corrodex Gloss Enamel Top Coat. Available in 250ml, 500ml, 1L and 300ml Aerosol Can.
Gloss Enamel Top Coat has been specially formulated and exhibits excellent water resistance and durability. Featuring high gloss and excellent colour retention, this finish coat will leave metal surface looking magnificent. It helps control rust, and the wide range of colours will help you achieve any look. Custom colours can also be made to order. Available in 250ml, 500ml, 1L and 300ml Aerosol Can.
The new Degreaser has been designed as a general purpose heavy duty cleaner for the removal of fat, grease, and oil contamination prior to painting. Supplied as a concentrate, mix at a ratio of 1 part degreaser to 4 parts fresh water for most jobs, or 1 part degreaser to 2 parts fresh water for more heavily contaminated areas. Available in 500ml concentrate.
Last but not least the Special Thinner has been designed for use with all products in the Corrodex range, except 973-925 Corrodex Degreaser. Up to 10% Corrodex Special Thinner may be added if required to ease application or to maintain a wet edge. You can also use it to clean up any overspray when Corrodex Aerosol products are applied. Available in 250ml, 500ml and 1L.
Going panoramic with wallpaper
For those that want to make a strong statement, French company Zuber now has over 30 new panoramic wallpapers.
These continuous landscapes are created by adjoining wallpapers panels, a speciality of this exclusive French company since 1804.
The subtly coloured panels can also be treated in sepia and grey and are ideal statement pieces for both private and public interiors.
Haydn Brush’s big cover-up
Haydn Brush has come out with a range of Absorbent Fleece Drop Covers perfect for protecting flooring from spills, dents, scuffs and scratches, protecting furniture from paint splatters, dust and dents as well as driveways from spills and many other applications where protection is required.
They feature plastic anti-slip backing, offer leak-proof protection and are made from absorbent recycled fleece. These reusable drop covers are available in 1x3m, 1x10m, 1x25m and 1x50m rolls.
Stain offers rich colour, fast
Zinsser Wood Stain contains an innovative formula that creates rich colour with just one coat and a one hour dry time. It is a premium, high performance stain, enhanced with nano pigments and soya oil for exceptional colour clarity. No wood conditioner required.
This advanced formula guarantees beautiful results three times faster than traditional wood stains and can be used on all interior wood projects such as furniture, cabinets, doors, trim, floors and panelling that can be further enhanced with a clear Zinsser varnish for long-lasting durability.
For best results, users should remove existing finishes with sandpaper or liquid stripper and prepare bare wood for staining by sanding in the direction of the grain.
Available in 237 mL and 946 mL.
The finish matters
Leveraging over 50 years of experience designing & supplying quality accessories to professional painters, RotaCota are excited to announce the launch of “Smooth”.
RotaCota “Smooth” offers a broad range of trade specified brushes at an affordable price delivering market leading value.
“Smooth”features a solid round, tapered filament manufactured with an advanced liquid treatment allowing for smooth application to the substrate reducing visible brush marks.
The “no compromise” brush range offers a stainless-steel triple pinned ferrule to reduce any movement supported by a raw, timber handle for comfort over longer periods of time.
Trusted by the trade for over 50 years, the team at RotaCota have designed “Smooth” to deliver an optimal painting experience for the professional painter.
More than just a pretty pink
Announcing the Pantone Color of the Year 2019 – PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral.
Living Coral is described as: “An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.
“Vibrant, yet mellow Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.”
Master Painters go to Noosa
Save the Date – the 85th Master Painters New Zealand Conference will take place this year over 11-15 September at the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort, on Australia’s Gold Coast.
The event incorporates NZ Apprentice of the Year, Master Painters New Zealand Annual AGM, the Master Painters Award of Excellence and a trade engagement session.
New Zealand paint category report now available
A report on New Zealand paint and coatings industry is now available from Australian based research company IBISWorld.
Released in November 2018, Paint & Coatings Manufacturing – New Zealand Market Research Report is based on research from 59 key businesses in the category.
Takeaways from the report include that current employment in this sector is 2,050; current revenue is around $865 million and that the market has seen annual growth of just 0.4% from 2014 to 2019.
The report forecasts that future growth in the market will be driven by environmentally friendly “green paints” and higher performance coatings.
To purchase the full report go to the shortened link below.
Cleaning wipes that are tough and kind
Rokset’s Big Wipes heavy duty textured scrub & clean wipes are tough, effective and kind to your hands. They tackle paint, adhesives, oil and sealant, grease and grime quickly and easily yet also contain skin conditioners aloe vera, glycerine, lanolin and Vitamin E to help nourish, protect and moisturise skin.
Dermatologically tested Big Wipes also offer anti-bacterial protection. These dual sided have a scrub side to remove the most stubborn grime and a smooth side that soaks up the muck.