World ceramic sanitaryware import/export flows grew by 81% from 2.16 million to 3.9 million tonnes over the period 2010-2021, corresponding to a compound annual growth rate of 5.6%. The positive trend that lasted for almost the entire decade (with the sole exception of 2020 due to the pandemic) was further strengthened by the strong recovery in exports observed in all geographical areas of production and in the largest exporting countries in 2021 (+16.5% on 2020).
Asia further consolidated its position as the world’s largest sanitaryware exporter, increasing its share of world exports to 64.6% thanks to 19% growth to 2.5 million tonnes. This development was the combined result of rebounds experienced by all the major Asian exporters, namely China, India, Thailand, Vietnam and Iran.
Exports from the European Union, the world’s second largest exporter, also grew by 13% to 552,000 tonnes. Poland, Germany and Portugal, the three largest sanitaryware exporters in the EU accounting for almost half of total EU exports, increased their exports by between 10.5% and 26%.
Exports from North America (NAFTA) remained in positive territory (379,000 tonnes, up 2.9% on 2020), despite the decrease in Mexico (-1.3%). Exports from non-EU European countries registered a significant growth (+18.6% to 279,000 tonnes), thanks to the increase in exports from Turkey (203,000 tonnes, up 22.3%). Next came South America (100,000 tonnes, +26.7%) and Africa (75,000 tonnes, +17.2%).
The 2021 ranking of the top 10 exporter countries remained unchanged from 2020 in terms of positions, but saw Russia exit and Iran enter in tenth place.
China continued to top the rankings in 2021 with 1.98 million tonnes (up 16% on 2020 and up from 902,000 tonnes in 2010, equivalent to a CAGR of +8.1%). China alone accounted for 78% of Asian exports and 50% of world exports.
Mexico, the second largest exporter country with an 8.4% share of global exports, suffered a 1.3% fall in its exports in 2021 to 329,000 tonnes. Buoyed by 54% growth on 2020 from 172,000 to 264,000 tonnes, India remained in third place followed by Turkey with 203,000 tonnes (up 22% on 2020), then Thailand, Poland, Germany, Portugal and Vietnam. Overall, the 10 largest sanitaryware exporter countries accounted for 83% of global exports.