The seventh edition of the publication “World production and consumption of ceramic tiles” is now available. Consisting of 260 pages of graphs, tables and commentary, it provides detailed analysis of the ten-year trends up to 2018 in industry, markets, per capita consumption and export flows in large geographic regions and in the 76 largest tile producer, consumer, exporter and importer countries.
A slowdown – or at least lack of recovery – in many national economies, emerging geopolitical and trade tensions, a widespread weakening of demand and consequent increase in international competition have had a severe impact on the performance of the world ceramic tile industry and its top players.
World ceramic tile production and consumption dropped by 3.6% to 13.1 and 12.8 billion square metres respectively (the first contraction in 20 years of reporting), while import-export flows remained stationary at 2017 levels of 2.749 billion sq.m, 21.5% of total consumption.
Within this overall picture, clearly, there was a degree of variation between the performances of individual countries and macro-regions.
Production in Asia dropped to 8,980 million sq.m (down 5.2% on 2017), mainly due to the sharp fall in production volumes in China, only partly offset by growth in India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Iran. Production remained unchanged both in the European Union (1,366 million sq.m, +0.3%) and in non-EU Europe (618 million sq.m, +0.5%), while the American continent fell slightly from 1,436 to 1,412 million sq.m. Africa has been seeing significant growth for 4-5 years, with total output in 2018 estimated at around 718 million sq.m (+3.2%). Besides Egypt, which remains the leading producer in the continent with an output of 300 million sq.m, and Nigeria which reached an output of 114 million sq.m, other strong performances include double-digit growth in Algeria (+20%) and in some sub-Saharan African countries (+33% in Ghana, +12% in Tanzania and +20% in Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya). These latter countries began producing tiles in 2015, largely driven by Chinese investments, and have outputs of between 10 and 40 million sq.m.
The unchanged results of world exports were attributable to the contraction in exports from China (down 54 million sq.m), Italy and Mexico and growth in exports from another three major exporting countries, Spain India and Brazil.
One of the most defining aspects of 2018 was the opposing fortunes of the two largest producer countries, China and India: on the one hand the nightmare year experienced by the Chinese ceramic industry (-11% production, -5.6% exports, -28% sales revenue); on the other the continued strong expansion of the Indian tile industry, which has seen further growth in production (+6% to 1.145 billion sq.m) and even more significantly in exports (+20% to 274 million sq.m). Moreover, observing international market performances, this trend continued over the first few months of the current year, with Chinese exports losing a further 9% in volume and Indian exports continuing to grow by more than 20%.
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