The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) recently released 2016 data on the ceramic tile industry.
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. U.S. ceramic tile consumption in 2016 was 2.90 billion sq. ft., up 5.8% vs. 2015 (2.74 billion sq. ft.). 2016 is 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.
In 2016, 1.99 billion sq. ft. of ceramic tile was imported into the U.S., up 5.7% from 2015 (1.88 billion sq. ft.). Imports in 2016 made up 68.6% of U.S. tile consumption (in sq. ft.), down slightly from 68.7% the previous year. In 2016 China remained the largest exporter to the U.S. (in sq. ft.) with a 29.4% share of U.S. imports (in sq. ft.), followed by Mexico (23.4%) and Italy (19.4%). Spain and Turkey rounded out the top five with a 9.3% and 5.1% share of imports, respectively. Italy remained the largest exporter to the U.S. on a dollar basis (including duty, freight, and insurance) in 2016, comprising 35.8% of U.S. imports. China was second with a 24.7% share, and Mexico was third with a 12.6% share.
U.S. ceramic tile shipments in 2016 increased for the seventh consecutive year and were at an all-time high of 909.0 million sq. ft., up 6% from 2015. In dollar value, domestic shipments (less exports) in 2016 were $1.35 billion, up 7.3% vs. 2015 ($1.26 billion). U.S. ceramic tile exports in 2016 were 36.2 million sq. ft., down 11.1% vs. 2015. The vast majority of these exports (in sq. ft.) were to our North American neighbors, Canada (62.8%) and Mexico (8.1%).
New home starts rose for the seventh consecutive year and were at their highest point since 2007. The 1.17 million units started in 2016 represented a 4.9% increase from the previous year. New single family home sales increased for the fifth consecutive year and were at a total of 563,000 units in 2016, up 12.2% vs. 2015. While this recent growth is encouraging as the U.S. continues to put the recent recession behind, new home sales were still down 56.1% from the all-time high level of 1.28 million units reached in 2005. Foreclosure filings, which are a key indicator of the U.S. housing market's health, declined by 13.9% in 2016 to 933,000 units. This was the sixth consecutive year-over-year decline and the lowest annual foreclosure total since 2006.
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