The American ceramic tile market declined for the first time in a decade in 2019, according to The Tile Council of North America despite the fact that the U.S. economy experienced its tenth consecutive year of expansion on the heels of the Great Recession.
U.S. ceramic tile consumption in 2019 was 2.9 billion sq. ft. (273.2million m2), down 5.4% from the previous year.
The U.S. imported 2.08 billion sq. ft. of ceramic tile in 2019, down 5.5% from the previous year (2.20 billion sq. ft.). Imports comprised 70.6% of 2019 U.S. tile consumption by volume, down from70.7% in 2018. Although China remained the largest exporter of ceramic tile to the U.S. by volume, its exports to the U.S. fell dramatically last year. This was due primarily to the effects of a trade remedy case filed by a coalition of several U.S. manufacturers, which petitioned the federal government to remedy unfairly dumped and subsidized ceramic tile imports from China.
Chinese imports made up 21.2% of total U.S. tile imports by volume in 2019. This was down from 31.5% in 2018 and represented China's lowest share of U.S. imports since 2008. Imports from Mexico comprised 17.3% of total U.S. imports in 2019, unchanged from 2018. Spain surpassed Italy as the third largest exporter of tile to the U.S., making up 16.9% of U.S. imports by volume, up from 14.1% in 2018. The next largest exporters to the U.S. were Italy (15.9% import share) and Brazil (9.8%).
On a dollar basis Italy remained the largest exporter to the U.S. in 2019, comprising 29.6% of U.S. imports. China was second with a 20.3% share, and Spain was third with a 20.1% share.
In 2019, U.S. shipments (less exports) were 863.6 million sq. ft., down 5.2% from 2018. This represented the lowest level of domestic shipments since 2015. Domestically-produced tile made up 29.4% of total U.S. tile consumption (by volume) in 2019, up slightly from its share the previous year (29.3%). In dollar value 2019 U.S. FOB factory sales of domestic shipments were $1.33 billion, down 4.0% compared to 2018.Domestically-manufactured tile made up 37.6% of 2019 total U.S. tile consumption by dollar value.
U.S. ceramic tile exports were 31.8 million sq. ft. in 2019, up 6.8% from 2018. The two largest recipients of these exports were Canada (70.7%) and Mexico (11.0%).
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