Statistics and markets

USA: 2016 Ceramic Tile Market Update


By Andrew Whitmire, Tile Council of North America

Strengthened by steady growth in the housing and construction markets, the U.S. economy continued to expand in 2016, helping lift the U.S. ceramic tile market to a seventh straight year of growth.

Through 3Q 2016 U.S. ceramic tile consumption was 2.19 billion sq. ft. (203.7 million sq. m), up 4.6% vs. 3Q 2015 YTD (2.10 billion sq. ft./194.8 million sq. m), according to figures from U.S. Dept. of Commerce & Tile Council of North America.

Based on the data available to February 2017, TCNA estimates 2016 U.S. ceramic tile consumption to be 2.90 billion sq. ft. (269.5 million sq. m), up 5.9% vs. 2015. For perspective this would make 2016 the fourth highest level ever reached by the U.S. ceramic tile market, topped only by the pre-recession boom of 2004-2006, when consumption was more than three billion sq. ft. annually (over 300 million sq.m/year).


Through 3Q 2016, 1.51 billion sq. ft. (140.2 million sq. m) of ceramic tile was brought in to the U.S., a 5.0% jump from 3Q 2015 YTD (1.44 million sq. ft./133.6 million sq. m). Through 3Q 2016 imports comprised 68.8% of U.S. tile consumption (in volume), up slightly from 68.7% in 2015.

Based on available data, TCNA projects U.S. imports for the year 2016 to be 1.99 billion sq. ft. (184.7 million sq. m.), up 5.7% from 2015.

China remained the largest ceramic tile exporter in volume to the U.S. (3Q 2016 YTD), comprising a 29.2% share of U.S. imports. Mexico was in second place, making up 23.7% of imports, followed by Italy with a 19.3% share. Spain (9.2% share) and Brazil (5.0% share) rounded out the top five. In spite of the peso’s recent record low against the U.S. dollar, tile imports from Mexico have declined significantly over the last two years. Of the ten countries from which the U.S. imported the most tile (in volume), Spain (+41.2%) had the highest percentage increase in exports to the U.S. (3Q 2016 YTD vs. 3Q 2015 YTD), and Thailand (-18.0%) had the largest percentage decrease over the same timeframe.

Through 3Q 2016, the value of imports was $ 1,589 million, up 3.9% vs 3Q 2015 YTD. Italy ($ 567 million, up 8% vs 3Q 2015 YTD) was once again the largest exporter to the U.S. on a dollar basis, comprising 35.7% of U.S. imports. China (-2.6%) was second with a 24.5% share, and Mexico (-9.9%) was third with a 12.8% share (table 3). The $ value/sq. ft. of all tile imports decreased slightly from $1.06 in 2015 to $1.05 through 3Q 2016. (11.3 $/sq.m). Italian tiles confirm their highest value, 21 $/sq.m.

U.S. Shipments

Through 3Q 2016 U.S. shipments of ceramic tile were on pace to increase for the seventh consecutive year. Based on data available to February 2017, U.S. shipments in 2016 will set a new all-time high of approximately 912.6 million sq. ft. (84.8 million sq. m), up 1.7% from 2015. Through 3Q 2016, domestic shipments (less exports) were 683.9 million sq. ft. (63.5 million sq. m), up 3.7% from 3Q 2015 YTD. In dollar value U.S. FOB factory sales of domestic shipments (less exports) through 3Q 2016 were $1.02 billion, up 5.2% vs. 3Q 2015 YTD ($965.6 million). TCNA figures show that the per unit value of domestic shipments (less exports) increased from $1.46 sq. ft. (15.7 $/sq.m) (3Q 2015 YTD) to $1.49 sq. ft., or 16.06 $/sq.m (3Q 2016 YTD). 

  • Read the complete article published on Ceramic World Review 120/2017