The positive development in the U.S. construction industry helped the ceramic tile market increase for the eighth year in a row. According to figures from U.S. Dept. of Commerce & Tile Council of North America, in 2017 U.S. ceramic tile consumption was 283 million sq.m, up 5.1% from 2016 and the fourth highest total of all time.
Domestic production, which has increased each of the last eight years, has been boosted recently by the expansion and opening of additional manufacturing facilities in Tennessee. It rose 3.2% from 2016 to 2017 to a record high of 90.6 million sq.m, of which 88 million sq.m sold on the US market (up 4.1% from 2016). Domestically-produced tile was by far the tile of choice of consumers, as 31.1% of all tile consumed domestically in 2017 was made in the U.S. The next highest countries of origin were China (21.6% of all tile consumed in the U.S.), Mexico (13.1%), and Italy (12.4%).
The per unit value of domestic shipments increased by 1.3% to 16.25 $/m2 in 2017. In dollar value U.S. FOB factory sales of domestic shipments in 2017 were also at a record high of $1.43 billion, up 6.1% vs. 2016. Domestically-produced tile comprised 39.3% of total U.S. tile consumption by dollar value, almost double that of Italian tile imports, which made up 20.5% of the U.S. market.
In 2017, the U.S. imported 195 million sq.m of ceramic tile, up 5.6% from 2016. Imports comprised 69% of 2017 U.S. tile consumption.
Once again, China was the largest exporter to the U.S. in volumes, rising by 12.7% to 61 million m2 in 2017 and comprising 31.3% of U.S. imports.
While the peso has fallen significantly vs. the U.S. dollar over the last five years, losing approximately 50% of its value, ceramic tile imports from Mexico have declined sharply (-14.4% on 2016) to 37 million sq.m, comprising 19% of 2017 U.S. imports (down from 23.4% in 2016 and from 27% in 2015).
Italy was the third largest exporter of tile to the U.S. (35.2 million sq.m, -1.7% on 2016, according to US Dept. of Commerce), making up 18.1% of U.S. imports.
The next largest exporters to the U.S. in 2017 were Spain (22.7 million sq.m, +32.8%) and Turkey (12 million sq.m, +28.3%), with an import share respectively of 11.7% and 6.2%.
In 2017, the value of total imports was $ 2,218 million, up 5.7% on 2016. On a dollar basis Italy remained the largest exporter to the U.S. ($ 747.8 million, -0.4%), comprising 33.7% of U.S. imports. China (+13.8% on 2016) was second with a 26.6% share, and Spain (+25.2% on 2016) was third with a 13.9% share.
The average values of imported tile (including duty, freight, and insurance) remained stable in 2017 at 11.4 $/ sq.m). Italian tiles once again confirmed their highest value, 21.2 $/ sq.m.