U.S. Tile Consumption Overview
While last year was extremely difficult for the U.S. ceramic tile market, which was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis and declined for the second consecutive year, 2021 is off to an excellent start. Through 1Q 2021, total U.S. ceramic tile consumption was up 17.8% by volume vs. 1Q 2020. If the current pace continues for the full year, U.S. consumption would reach a record-high of 3.34 billion sq. ft. The following table shows U.S. tile shipments, imports, exports, and total consumption in thousands of sq. ft.
The chart below shows total U.S. consumption of ceramic tile (in sq. ft.) over the last several years and an estimated total for 2021 based on the current pace of consumption.
In 1Q 2021, the U.S. imported 532.5 million sq. ft. of ceramic tile, up 26.0% from 1Q 2020.2 Imports made up 71.2% of U.S. tile consumption by volume in 1Q 2021, up from 69.3% the previous year.
Spain, having replaced China last year as the largest exporter to the U.S. by volume, retained the top position in 1Q 2021 with a 20.0% share of U.S. imports, a slight decrease from its 20.7% share last year.
Mexico was the second largest exporter to the U.S. by volume, comprising 18.1% of imports through 1Q, its highest share since 2017.
Italy was in the third position with a 14.0% share of imports, down from 16.6% last year, and its lowest level on record.3 The five countries from which the most tiles were imported in 1Q 2021, based onvolume, were:
However, on a dollar basis (CIF + duty) Italy remained the largest exporter to the U.S. in 1Q 2021, comprising 27.4% of U.S. imports, followed by Spain (23.1%) and Mexico (11.6%). The five countries from which the most tiles were imported based on total U.S. $ value (CIF + duty) in 1Q 2021 were:
The average values of tile4 (including CIF + duty) from the five countries from which the most tiles were imported by volume in 1Q 2021 were:
U.S. shipments (less exports) in 1Q 2021 were 215.5 million sq. ft., up 1.5% vs. 1Q 2020. Representing 28.8% of all tile consumed in the U.S. by volume, domestically-produced tile remained far ahead of all individual countries exporting tile to the U.S. In fact, domestically-made tile’s market share was more than double that of Spain’s, the largest exporter to the U.S., which comprised 14.2% of all tile consumed in the U.S. by volume. In dollar value, 1Q 2021 U.S. FOB factory sales of domestic shipments were $326.1 million, up 1.3% vs. 1Q 2020. Domestically-produced tile made up 37.7% of total U.S. consumption by dollar value. The $ value/sq. ft. of domestic shipments in 1Q 2021 was $1.51, down from $1.52 in 1Q 2020.5
U.S. ceramic tile exports in 1Q 2021 were 9.8 million sq. ft., up 11.4% vs. 1Q 2020.
The vast majority of U.S. exports in sq. ft. went to our North American neighbors, Canada (69.9%) and Mexico (16.3%).6
Housing Market Highlights
New Home Starts
As of May 2021, total new home starts were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1,572,000 units, a 3.6% increase from the previous month and a 50.3% increase from May 2020.
Total new home starts are on pace to increase for the twelfth consecutive year and be at their highest point since 2006.7
New Single Family Home Sales
New single family home sales are on pace to increase for the tenth year in a row and reach their highest level since 2006.
As of May 2021, new single family home sales were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 769,000 units, a 5.9% decrease from the previous month but a 9.2% increase from May 2020.8
About Tile Council of North America
(TCNA)TCNA is a trade association representing manufacturers of ceramic tile, tile installation materials, tile equipment, raw materials and other tile-related products. Established in 1945 as the Tile Council of America (TCA), it became the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) in 2003, reflecting its membership expansion to all of North America.
The Tile Council is recognized for its leadership role in facilitating the development of North American and international industry quality standards to benefit tile consumers. Additionally, TCNA regularly conducts independent research and product testing, works with regulatory, trade, and other government agencies, and publishes installation guidelines, tile standards, economic reports, and promotional literature.
1 U.S. Dept. of Commerce & Tile Council of North America
2 U.S. Dept. of Commerce
3 U.S. Dept. of Commerce
4 The average value is significantly affected by the mix of tiles imported, with different types of tiles impacting the average value, in addition to differences in pricing for the same types of tile.
5 Tile Council of North America
6 U.S. Dept. of Commerce
7 U.S. Census Bureau
8 U.S. Census Bureau