It is not surprising that ceramic and stone sales are off at retail compared to last year, according to the just-completed 2010 Tile & Stone Retail Market Study conducted forNational Floor TrendsandTILE Magazineby Clear Seas Research.

Florida Tile’s Paramount High Definition Porcelain collection.


It is not surprising that ceramic and stone sales are off at retail compared to last year, according to the just-completed 2010 Tile & Stone Retail Market Study conducted forNational Floor TrendsandTILE Magazineby Clear Seas Research. The drop in retail sales is similar to those in other flooring product categories.

Fifty-four percent of our survey group generates 10 or less ceramic tile sales per month. The average ticket amount is now at $1,876 with 40% of jobs less than $1,000; 26% from $1,000 to $1,999; 21% from $2,000 to $3,499; and 13% at $3,500 or more (chart 1).The average ceramic tile sales job totals 423 sq. ft., an average of 105 more sq. ft. than 2009(chart 2).

The study found 57% of participants’ total ceramic sales are for floor tile, with 19% for wall tile; 12% backsplashes; 6% trims and decorative tile; 4% countertops; and 3% for exterior use.  

Sales of 13” by 13” ceramic floor tile has decreased significantly with the size garnering 10% less share in 2010 at 25%. Meanwhile, 12” by 12” has remained steady with a 34% share; the 20” by 20” size now has 7%; 18” by 18” remains at 23%; 12” by 24” commands 3%; the 16” by 16” size now has a 6% share; and 24” by 24” at 1%.

The 6” by 6” (28%) ceramic wall tile continues to be the most popular size, followed by 4” by 4” (16%); 12” by 12” (14%) and 8” by 10” (13%).

Survey respondents reported that they sell more domestic tile products than imports for the second year in a row. Fifty-four percent of ceramic products sold are domestic, while imports register at 46%.

Dal-Tile remains the top selling brand of ceramic tile at 37%, followed by American Olean, 11% and Florida Tile, 7%.

Ceramic tile sales are expected to grow in 2011 according to our panel.(chart 3)This is a 9% increase compared to our 2009 survey. Travertine is the most popular tile style and is expected to grow in popularity in the future. Respondents anticipate that the most popular future color choice for ceramic tile is earth tones followed by natural/neutral. The future ceramic tile size of choice is expected to be 18” by 18” at 25% share; and 12” by 12” and 13” by 13” at 15% each. Our survey responders anticipate that the 16” by 16” size will not be as popular, registering 11%, a drop of 8% from 2009.

The top three factors impacting a respondent’s decision to promote or sell a particular brand or manufacturer of ceramic tile include: price, product design/styles and product quality/durability. 

The majority of respondents sell porcelain tile. On average, one-half of total tile sales are reported to be porcelain tile. The source of porcelain tile is split evenly between domestic and foreign at 50% with glazed porcelain products commanding roughly 60% of sales and color-through porcelain sales at almost 40%. Porcelain tile sales are expected to increase in 2011 with 68% of respondents projecting a rise in the segment.

Over three-fourths of respondents sell glass tile although it accounts just up to 10% of total tile business. Mosaic glass tile holds a 72% share of all category sales; the glass tile category will continue to grow in 2011, according to the study.

The stone/marble segment averages 18 sales each month with an average ticket per sale of $1,938. Dal-Tile (50%) was named the top brand of stone in the survey, followed by Emser Tile (14%) and Florida Tile (8%).

Stone sales are projected to grow in 2011 with travertine accounting for almost one-third of sales.


Editor’s Note:  This study polled 144 respondents; 85% sell ceramic tile and stone products, 13% sell only ceramic tile and 2% sell only stone. Eighty-four percent purchase, specify and/or recommend ceramic tile and stone products; 13% purchase, specify and/or recommend ceramic tile products; and 3% purchase, specify and/or recommend stone products.