Investment in digital technologies is currently booming across all industries, and the chemicals sector is no exception. In Frost & Sullivan’s March 2018 report, Impact of Digitisation on the Chemical Industry, coating formulators were identified as the most likely to have a digital strategy. However, they put it to use in only a limited number of digital domains. Since then, the use of digital technology by coatings companies has accelerated. Leading coating formulators now have digital initiatives across all domains. The role of digital leadership, especially chief digital officers, is poised to explode through 2019 and 2020.

This report tracks the industry’s transformation and seeks to identify future opportunities that might exist for further use of digital tech. Data monetisation in particular, will transform the coatings industry in the next 10 years. Successful companies will sell not just tins of paint, but also the attributes of the paint (protection, colour, etc.) as a service. In making this transformation, coatings companies will also identify entirely new potential customers, who could benefit from the data being generated.

The global coatings industry consists of a small number of large global participants and a very large number of smaller companies. The top 10 companies collectively represent 53% of the global coatings market. 8 of these 10 companies are pure coatings companies. The way in which digital technology will affect these companies will therefore be strongly influenced by the specific requirements of the coatings industry.

The findings in this report will be presented using the same 7 domains identified in the previous study. These domains are as follows:
  • Digital Innovation investigates the use of digital technology in research and development and new product innovation.
  • Digital Sourcing tracks the use of digital technology in the process of finding and procuring raw materials.
  • Digital Business Models covers strategies designed to make a company’s general business processes more digitalised.
  • Digital Plant looks at how coating plants themselves can benefit from digital technology.
  • Digital Product investigates the potential for physical coatings (as a product) to be complemented by a digital offering.
  • Digital Customers looks at how digital transformation within the key coating end-markets (customers) is transforming their demand for coatings.
  • Digital Marketing tracks the use of digital technology in marketing products to potential customers.
In summary, this study will explore:
  • The enabling technologies behind digital transformation
  • Current activity amongst coating formulators and raw materials suppliers in the 7 digital domains
  • Future scenarios for coatings in an increasingly digital world