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News I published 15 November 2023 I Dirk Hoogenboom

Do not bet on pure online purchase channels to sell to painters

Pure online channels have made a large impact on the retail and wholesale sectors. So much so that successful pure online channels are often seen as threats that change that sector beyond recognition. Manufacturers may consider investing to be present and available on those channels. In some cases, however, that may be a mistake. For instance, if painters are your target group.

In the business value chain of building construction, painters are a rather traditional group of professionals in a sector that is rather traditional to begin with. That traditionality is also seen in painters’ choice of purchase channels, as is evident in the latest results of the Painter Insight Monitor, which focuses on the purchase behavior of painters from 11 European countries.   

The majority buy paint and consumables at traditional, specialised wholesalers  

About seven out of ten European painters buy paint and consumables from specialized wholesalers. At a vast distance, other channels follow. Paint is sometimes bought directly from the manufacturer (17%) or, more rarely, from general wholesalers. The same goes for consumables (12% at both the manufacturer and general wholesaler). On very rare occasions, painters buy paint and consumables at DIY stores.  

It has to be said that there are some rather substantial country differences, though. For instance, a whopping 95% of German painters say their main purchase point for paint is the specialized wholesaler, whereas that share is 58% in the UK and merely 41% in Poland. In the UK, 30% of painters mainly buy paint directly from the manufacturer, while 44% of Polish painters mainly buy paint from general wholesalers.  

Pure online purchase channels are barely used, except for power tools 

There is one thing that painters from all countries have in common, which is that they barely, if ever, buy consumables and especially paint from pure online channels. Only when it concerns power tools, are pure online shops used more often. On average, eight percent of European painters claim their main purchase point for power tools are pure online channels.  

Eight percent still does not seem that much, but considering the painter population of eleven European countries, this means a substantial amount of money is being spent on power tools through pure online channels. Also, country differences are larger when it concerns power tools. Even for power tools, pure online channels are barely used in Germany, for instance, while in the UK, more than a quarter of painters claim to mainly buy their power tools through pure online channels.  

Painters’ purchasing is traditional, but do not neglect online channels to reach them 

Even in the case of purchasing power tools, painters are rather traditional, as on average, six out of ten mainly buy them at the traditional specialized wholesaler. So clearly, for manufacturers of paint and paint-related consumables and power tools, it would be a mistake to heavily bet on pure online channels to sell your wares.  

That does not mean that online channels should be ignored completely, however. Especially in areas where purchasing online is more common or where the painter population is more online-minded in their quest for information, an online presence may help catch the eye of painters. Given their traditionality, however, the easiest place to reach painters remains the traditional wholesaler. 

For a full overview of the purchasing behaviour of painters in eleven European countries, we refer you to USP Marketing Consultancy’s Painter Insight Monitor. 

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