World production and consumption of ceramic tiles (2020)

ACIMAC research Dept/MECS anticipates to Ceramic World Review the key figures of the 9th edition of the annual report “World production and consumption of ceramic tiles”.

  • The year 2020 saw an initial partial recovery of global tile production and consumption, which grew respectively by 1.7% and 2.5%.
  • Import-export flows fell by 2.4% overall.
  • Positive outlook of global tile production in the 5-year period 2021-2025.

The ninth edition of the study entitled “World production and consumption of ceramic tiles” produced by MECS / Acimac Research Centre is due to be published in October. Consisting of almost 300 pages of charts, tables and commentary, the study provides detailed analysis of the trends occurring over the ten-year period up to 2020 in terms of industry, markets, per capita consumption and export flows in geographical macro-regions and in the 76 largest tile producer, consumer, exporter and importer countries.

The major new feature of this year’s study is the in-depth revision of the 10-year historical series for tile production and consumption in China based on the extensive market analysis conducted by MECS and involving more than a thousand companies operating in 27 Chinese regions. The study, which culminated in the 800-page publication “China: Ceramic tiles and slabs”, includes data on production capacity, number of lines, types of products and investments underway or planned during the current three-year period for each company.

The revision of the Chinese data led to a parallel update of the overall time series.

In spite of the pandemic, the year 2020 saw an initial partial recovery in global tile production and consumption, after 2 years marked by a downturn. World tile consumption climbed to 16,035 million sqm (+2.5%), while world production, which was hindered by temporary plant interruptions in many countries, grew by 1.7% to 16,093 million sqm.

Production in Asia rose by 2.8% to 11.9 billion sqm, mainly due to the increase in volumes produced in China, India and Iran, which offset the contraction in Vietnam and Indonesia.

In the European continent production fell in the European Union (1,218 million sqm; -6.6%), while it grew in non-EU Europe (638 million sqm; +11.9%), thanks to the sharp upswing in Turkey.

Production on the American continent also fell to 1,409 million sqm: in North America the losses amounted to just -2.7% (321 million sqm), while in Central and South America, the region worst hit by the extended 2020 lockdowns, production fell to 1,088 million sqm (-7.6%).

Growth continued in Africa, where production reached 918 million sqm (+6.1%).

In 2020, global import-export flows decreased by 2.4% to 2,769 million sqm, 67 million sqm down on 2019. Apart from minor variations between individual exporting countries, the result is mainly due to the sharp contraction in Chinese exports (down 157 million sqm; -20%). Overall, exports from Asia fell to 1,385 million sqm (-4.5%), equivalent to 50% of world exports. The European Union’s exports remained stable at 922 million sqm (+0.2%), while exports from non-EU European countries also performed strongly (207 million sqm; +11.9%), largely due to the significant growth in exports from Turkey. This contrasted with the decline in export volumes from Central and South America (133 million sqm; -10%), from North America (41 million sqm; -8.9%) and from Africa (81 million sqm; -8%).

Among the most interesting facts that happened in 2020, we underline both India’s overtaking as the world’s second largest exporter and the further increase of European Union’s export propensity, with an export share that grew to 75.7% of its production.

2021 forecasts

Given the high level of investments being made in the major tile producing countries, further growth can be expected in 2021. China closed the first half of 2021 with a 14.7% increase in production compared to the first half of 2020; Brazil with +52% (+24% forecast for the whole year); Spain with +34%; Iran with +10% and Mexico with +48% (+18% forecast for the end of the year). Italian production is also expected to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels driven by surging exports amid double-digit growth rates in several key markets in the first half of the year.

The five-year outlook published by MECS is also very positive and suggests that world tile production may reach 20 billion sqm by 2025 (CAGR 2021-2025 +4.7%), with the strongest growth in Asia and Africa.

Read the complete article published in Ceramic World Review no. 143

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