This question was put to me last week. Whilst there are some good UK products, it is true that a large amount come from the U.S.
I realise its a general statement and there are some good UK and Europe products out there. But I'd say a lot are very recent and we are still catching up with the U.S.
Its taken me a while, but I think I've worked it out. I'm thinking of paint here. When it comes to tools the U.S made products just seem to be superior :-) Although with recent brands in the UK, like Axis and the fox brushes, there is competition out there.
In the UK paint manufacturers are constantly adapting products and re-releasing them as 'new improved formulas'. This was really noticeable after the the 2010 EU regulation changes. Ever since then the paint has gone downhill; I'm sure lots of people will be aware of the yellowing gloss problem.
Its been a constant battle for decorators, trying new products and ' improved formulas' and getting over various difficulties that have arisen.
The main difference in the U.S. is that their paints are made from scratch, made for a purpose and are not just re-adapted versions of old products like they are here in the UK. whereas a lot of UK brands are just new versions of old formulas to either 'improve it' or to have met the EU regulations, rather than bringing out a good product and sticking with it.
The U.S are leading the way with water based, environmentally friendly, paints. With brands like Mythic and Benjamin Moore, the competition is very high.
UK manufacturers need to open their eyes and pay attention, especially to the trade, who are often ignored by big companies like Dulux and Crown who pass the blame of a problem onto the way the decorator did the job rather than addressing the issues with their products. I have seen this happen time and time again with myself and other decorators.
I have heard recently that Dulux have a fantastic water based exterior satin in New Zealand, but not here. I have also heard that the reason for not releasing these great products here is because they are still making a profit from the sale of older oil based paints. If that's the case then the problem lies with decorators not keeping up with advances and sticking with 'what they know'.
One of the most important things I have found in my career is that you need to change and adapt as newer, better methods become available to you. Much of what I do now is nothing like the work I was doing as an apprentice - and this is for the better!
Who doesn't want less dust and a higher quality, longer lasting finish?