The Tile Council of North America (TCNA), a trade association representing manufacturers of ceramic tile, tile installation materials, tile equipment, raw materials and other tile-related products, has released its 2021 US Ceramic Tile Market Update. The report shows total US ceramic tile consumption in 2021 was 3.11 billion sq. ft., up 9.9% from the previous year. This also marks the first increase since 2018.
According to TCNA, the activity was supported by robust economic growth overall as well as gains in the US construction and housing markets. For example, in the residential market, new home starts rose for the 12th consecutive year and were at their highest point since 2006. The 1.60 million units started in 2021 represented a 16% increase from the previous year, according to the US Census Bureau.
Following are highlights from the report:
US imports in 2021 reached their highest level in 15 years. The 2.23 billion sq. ft. of tile imported last year was a 13.6% increase from 2020.
Spain, which in 2020 supplanted China as the largest exporter of ceramic tile to the US by volume, maintained this position. Spanish imports held a 22.2% share of total US imports by volume in 2021, up from 20.7% the previous year.
Italy was the second largest exporter to the US by volume, its highest position since 2008. Italian tiles made up 17.4% of the US import market last year, up from 16.6% the previous year.
Mexico, which was the third-largest exporter to the US, has seen its share of total imports fall steadily over the last decade from an all-time high of 31.5% in 2012 to 16.1% last year.
Rounding out the top five were Turkey (13.5% share) and Brazil with a 10.7% share of US imports by volume.
On a dollar basis (CIF + duty) Italy remained the largest exporter to the US, making up 31.6% of 2021 US imports, followed by Spain (25.3% share) and Mexico (9.8% share).
US manufacturers shipped 880.3 million sq. ft. of ceramic tile domestically last year, a 1.5% increase from 2020.
Though imports’ share of US consumption grew from 69.4% in 2020 to 71.7% last year, domestically produced tiles’ share of consumption (28.3%) remained far ahead of all other individual countries exporting tile to the US, with the nearest being Spain ( 15.9% of US tile consumption), Italy (12.5%) and Mexico (11.5%).
In dollars, 2021 US FOB factory sales of domestic shipments were $1.36 billion, a 5% increase from 2020. US shipments comprised 35.2% of 2021 total US tile consumption by value, down from 39.3% the previous year.
The per unit value of domestic shipments increased from $1.49/sq. ft. in 2020 to $1.54/sq. ft. last year.
US ceramic tile exports in 2021 were 38.0 million sq. ft., a 22.5% increase from the previous year. The two largest consumers of US exports by volume were Canada (70.7%) and Mexico (14.3%).
The value of US exports rose 29.8% from $31.2 million in 2020 to $40.4 million last year.