Fewer Made in Italy tiles sold, but €700 million more in exports in 2022
A price increase of +18% confirms Italy as a leader in world ceramic exports
Despite a particularly difficult 2022 for the ceramic sector, the latest Istat data on Italian tile exports reveal a +16% growth for foreign sales compared to 2021, exceeding €5 million in sales for the first time according to the National Institute of Statistics.
This increase is mainly due to the rise in price lists put in place by tile manufacturers to cope with rising raw material and energy prices, which had already emerged by the end of 2021 and have been exacerbated in the past year by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Analyses conducted by the MECS Study Center on official statistics show an increase of almost €3 in the average price of Made in Italy tiles, which came to exceed €16 per sqm in 2022 (+18%).
While the value of tile exports reached its peak this last year, with a €700 million increase in turnover, the volume exported, on the other hand, recorded a -1.3% contraction (4.5 million sq. m. less exported) compared to 2021. This dynamic was due precisely only to higher sales prices.
The most striking case is that of the United States, the third largest market for Italian exports, where sales volumes decreased by -8.2% in 2022, against a growth in sales of +14.7%, thanks to an average increase in price lists of 28%, with a price per sqm that exceeded €19 overseas compared to not even €15 in 2021.
The decline in tile consumption in the European Union had been predicted by the MECS Study Center's Ceramic Tile Market Forecast Analysis, which, moreover, provides a positive projection to 2026, with an average annual growth of +0.7%, just as it forecasts a recovery in the North American region of +3% annually between now and 2026.
This divergence between export flows in volume and value is not just an Italian characteristic. Even for Spanish ceramic producers, who exported just over 450 million sq. m. of tiles in 2022 (compared to 320 million sq. m. in Italy), the latest Eurostat/UN Comtrade statistics show a +9.2 percent increase in exports in value, but a 7.7 percent drop in export volumes: data from the latest edition of "World Production and Consumption of Ceramic Tiles" published by the MECS Study Center, speak of growth of over €300 million compared to last year's €3.7 billion in exports, due solely to price list increases.