Written by Andrew Whitmire
Published: 16 December 2012
At the halfway point of 2012, U.S. ceramic tile consumption (the sum of U.S. shipments and imports less exports) was on pace to rise for the third year in a row.
Through 2Q 2012, U.S. tile consumption was 1.09 billion sq. ft., up 4.8% vs. the same time period in 2011. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go before we return to pre-recession numbers.
The following table shows U.S. tile shipments, imports, exports, and total consumption (in thousands of sq. ft.) over the last five years.
Through 2Q 2012 YTD, 729.3 million sq. ft. (67.8 million sq. m) of ceramic tile arrived in the U.S. This was an increase of 3.0% from 2Q 2011 YTD, in which 708.4 million sq. ft. (65.8 million sq. m) of ceramic tile were imported into the U.S.
Import penetration through 2Q 2012 was at 66.7%, continuing the trend that began in 2007 of imports’ declining relative to U.S. shipments.
On a YTD basis, as of 2Q 2012, Mexico was the top exporter to the U.S. in sq. ft. with a 32.5% share. China held the second position, making up 26.8% of imports (in sq. ft.). Italy was in third place with a 17.4% share.
On a dollar basis, Italy continued to hold the top exporter position (2Q 2012 YTD), making up 35.3% of U.S. imports. The next two highest shares belonged to China and Mexico, which had 21.8% and 19.3% of the $ value of U.S. imports, respectively.
The $ value/sq. ft. of all tile imports rose from $0.94 (2Q 2011 YTD) to $0.96 for 2Q 2012 YTD.
The top five countries from which tiles were imported through 2Q 2012 YTD based on sq. ft. were:
The top five countries from which tiles were imported through 2Q 2012 YTD based on total U.S. $ value (including duty, freight, and insurance) were:
U.S. shipments (less exports) were at 364.7 million sq. ft. through 2Q 2012 YTD, up 8.6% from 2Q 2011 YTD.
U.S. exports through 2Q 2012 YTD were at 23.5 million sq. ft., up 0.1% vs. 2Q 2011 YTD. The vast majority of these exports (in sq. ft.) were to Canada (52.2%), Mexico (13.7%), and China (13.5%).
(Sources: U.S. Commerce Dept. & U.S. ceramic tile manufacturers)