U.S Ceramic tile imports and consumption see strong growth in 2021

U.S. ceramic tile consumption grew by 9.9% to 289 million sq.m. Imports reached their highest level in fifteen years: 207 million sq.m with a total value of US$ 2.5 billion, up 13.6% and 25% respectively on 2020.

By Andrew Whitmire, TCNA (USA)

2021 was a year of robust growth for both the U.S. economy and ceramic tile market. Supported by gains in the construction and housing markets, U.S. ceramic tile consumption increased for the first time since 2018.

Based on figures from U.S. Dept. of Commerce and TCNA, total U.S. ceramic tile consumption in 2021 was 289.2 million m2 (3.11 billion sq. ft.), up 9.9% from the previous year.

The volume of domestically produced tile continued to grow in 2021, reaching 85.3 million sq.m, up 2.2% on 2020. The U.S. shipments to the domestic market increased by 1.5% last year, to 81.8 million m2 (880.3 million sq. ft.). 

Though imports’ share of U.S. consumption grew from 69.4% in 2020 to 71.7% in 2021, domestically-produced tiles’ share of consumption (28.3%) remained far ahead of all other individual countries exporting tile to the U.S., with the nearest being Spain (15.9% of U.S. tile consumption), Italy (12.5%), and Mexico (11.5%).

In dollars, 2021 U.S. FOB factory sales of domestic shipments were $1.36 billion, a 5% increase from 2020. U.S. shipments comprised 35.2% of 2021 total U.S. tile consumption by value, down from 39.3% the previous year.

The per unit value of domestic shipments increased from $16.06/m2 ($1.49/sq. ft.) in 2020 to $16.61/m2 ($1.54/sq. ft.) last year.

U.S. ceramic tile exports in 2021 were 3.5 million m2 (38.0 million sq. ft.), a 22.5% increase from the previous year. The two largest consumers of U.S. exports by volume were Canada (70.7%) and Mexico (14.3%). The value of U.S. exports rose 29.8% from $31.2 million in 2020 to $40.4 million last year.


U.S. imports in 2021 reached their highest level in fifteen years. The 207.5 million m2 (2.23 billion sq. ft.) of tile imported last year was a 13.6% increase from 2020.

Spain, which in 2020 supplanted China as the largest exporter of ceramic tile to the U.S. by volume, maintained this position. Spanish sales (46 million sq.m; +21.7% on 2020) held a 22.2% share of total U.S. imports by volume in 2021, up from 20.7% the previous year.

Italy was the second largest exporter to the U.S. by volume - its highest position since 2008 - with 36 million sq.m. of tiles sold in the US (+19.1%). Italian-produced tiles made up 17.4% of the U.S. import market last year, up from 16.6% the previous year.

Mexico, which was the third largest exporter to the U.S. with 33.4 million sq.m (+7.3% on 2020), has seen its share of total imports fall steadily over the last decade from an all-time high of 31.5% in 2012 to 16.1% last year.

Rounding out the top five were Turkey (13.5% share; 27.9 million sq.m, +20.9%) and Brazil (22.2 million sq.m, +1.6%) with a 10.7% share of U.S. imports by volume.

In 2021, the total value of ceramic tile imports increased by 25% to US$ 2.5 billion. On a dollar basis (CIF + duty) Italy remained the largest exporter to the U.S. (US$ 790.7 million, +25.4%%), making up 31.6% of 2021 U.S. imports. Once again, Italian tiles confirm the highest average price of $21.92/sq.m, up 5.6% from $20.76/sq.m, in 2020.

Italy was followed by Spain with a 25.3% share (US$ 633.9 million, +35.3%), and Mexico with a 9.8% share (US$ 244.9 million, +9.3%).

Read the complete article published in Ceramic World Review 145

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