Paint manufacturers have gained sound growth over the last couple of years with consumption in both urban and rural areas increasing for a boost in consumers' purchasing power and move towards diverse and premium products.
In 2017, the size of Bangladesh's decorative paint market was about Tk 3,500 crore, according to a number of paint manufacturers and Bangladesh Paint Manufacturer's Association (BPMA).
Around 40 local and multinational companies are now in operation in the market which has been witnessing an average growth of around 8 to 10 percent in the last 10 years, according to Rupali Chowdhury, managing director of Berger Paints Bangladesh.
At present, the annual demand for paint stands at nearly 200,000 tonnes. The local market for decorative paint is not enormous but the future is good as consumption is increasing with economic development.
She said Berger is the market leader in Bangladesh with a 55 percent market share. The major local companies are Asian Paints, Roxy Paints, Elite Paint, RAK, Pailac Paints, Moonstar Paints, Ujala Paints and Al-Karim Paints & Chemicals Ltd.
Akzonobel of Netherlands, Nippon Paint of Japan and Jotun Paints of Norway are trying to grab a share of the market.
According to Chowdhury, it is very tough for newcomers to create a space for themselves as the marketing system was not sophisticated.
The manufacturers have to distribute products to retailers on credit, which is a big challenge, she noted.
Even the payment system of retailers in Bangladesh is a traditional one: sometimes they do not clear their dues on time. She said Berger conducts surveys through market research firms or by its own team before producing and launching new products.
There are different kinds of consumers in the market and they have different choices: some people like a usual product and some prefer the premium ones.
The market was mainly dominated by foreign companies as they had capital and distributed products among retailers on long-term credits, which was not a possible option for local companies, Abdur Rahman, vice president of BPMA, told The Daily Star.
He said the future of decorative painting is bright as the market has been increasing rapidly, which encouraged many foreign companies to invest in the sector.
M Shamsuzzaman, general secretary, said the ups and downs in demand for decorative paint were directly related to the housing sector.
Besides, business insiders said, last year's experience was not positive for local companies due to natural disasters.
However, they said there was huge potential for the decorative paint market as the consumption was increasing in rural areas alongside in urban areas across the country.
According to Ali Ashraf, owner of Ali Paint at Karwan Bazar, the demand for Berger's products is higher compared to other brands, followed by Asian and Elite.