In 2020 total ceramic tile sales in the USA were down 3.5% to 263.6 million sq.m. While domestically produced tile continued to grow, imports were the most damaged, decreasing by 5.3% to 183 million sq.m
Andrew Whitmire, TCNA (USA)
Based on figures from U.S. Dept. of Commerce and TCNA, U.S. ceramic tile consumption in 2020 was 263.6 million sq.m. (2.84 billion sq. ft.), down 3.5% from the previous year.
Despite the many challenges the health crisis brought, the volume of domestically produced tile continued to grow in the U.S. tile market in 2020. U.S. shipments (less exports) last year increased 0.9% vs. 2019 to 80.9 million sq.m (871.3 million sq. ft.). They made up 30.7% of total U.S. consumption by volume in 2020, up from 29.4% in the previous year and their highest market share since 2017.
In dollar value, 2020 U.S. FOB factory sales of domestic shipments were $1.30 billion, down 2.8% from 2019. U.S. shipments made up 39.3% of 2020 total U.S. tile consumption by dollar value, up from 37.6% the prior year. The per unit value of domestic shipments decreased from $16.63/ sq.m ($1.55/sq. ft.) in 2019 to $16.03/ sq.m ($1.49/sq. ft.) in 2020.
U.S. ceramic tile exports were 2.9 million sq.m (31.0 million sq. ft.) in 2020, a 2.4% decline from 2019. The two largest recipients of these exports were our North American neighbours, Canada (73.4%) and Mexico (10.2%). The value of U.S. exports fell 12.6% from $35.7 million in 2019 to $31.2 million in 2020.
U.S Ceramic tile production reached 83,8 milioni sq.m, up slightly from 2019.
Though U.S. factories remained open last year, for several weeks during the spring, tile plants in the three countries exporting the most tile to the U.S. (i.e. Spain, Mexico, and Italy) were shut down due to COVID-19. This negatively impacted imports: as of May 2020, U.S. imports were down 22.9% vs. May 2019 YTD. However, imports rallied in the second half of 2020 and ended the year down 5.3%. The 182.7 million sq.m (1.97 billion sq. ft.) of tile imported in 2020 was the lowest total since 2015.
The year 2020 saw the final exit of China from the US tile market (imports from China fell by 98.1% vs. 2019), as a consequence of the imposition in 2019 of significant anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese tiles. Its position as largest exporter of ceramic tile to the U.S. by volume was conquered, for the first time on record, by Spain, whose sales grew by 16.1% to 37.8 million sq.m., claiming a 20.7% share of total U.S. imports by volume, up considerably from 16.9% in 2019.
Mexico, the second largest exporter to the U.S., confirmed the downward trend of its sales (31.1 million sq.m.; -6.9% from 2019), comprising 17.0% of total U.S. imports by volume, down slightly from 17.3% in 2019. Since peaking with a 31.5% share of imports in 2012, Mexico’s share has steadily declined and was at its lowest point since 2006.
Italy was the third largest exporter with 30.3 million sq.m. of tiles sold in the US (-1,6%), making up 16.6% of total U.S. imports by volume, up from 15.9% the prior year.
Other major exporters registered a double-digit growth in volume: Turkey (23,1 million sq.m; +39.2%), Brazil (21.8 million sq.m; +15.4%) and above all India, whose exports to the US grew in just one year from 6.3 to 18.6 million sq.m (+194.5%), making the largest gain in market share (from a 3.3% share of imports in 2019 to 10.2% last year).
In 2020, the total value of ceramic tile imports declined by 9.5% to US$ 2.0 billion. On a dollar basis (CIF + duty) Italy remained the largest exporter to the U.S. in 2020 (US$ 628.6 million, -4.2%), comprising 31.4% of U.S. imports (up from 29.6%). It was followed by Spain ($468.6 million, +5.6%) with a 23.4% share, and Mexico ($224 million, -0.8%) with a 11.2% share.
As for the average values of tile (CIF + duty), once again, Italian tiles confirm the highest average price of $20.76/sq.m, down slightly from $21.33/sq.m, in 2019.