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Overall, demand for decorative tile is forecast to increase 4.3% per year to four billion square feet in 2011, according to “Decorative Tile,” a new report from The Freedonia Group. Demand is dominated by flooring applications, which accounted for nearly four-fifths of total tile demand in 2006 and will continue to spur demand for decorative tile as consumer preferences shift away from carpets and rugs.
Gains will be particularly strong in nonresidential flooring applications, driven by an increased appreciation of the performance qualities of tile. In the residential market, growth will be driven by remodeling activity as homeowners seek to replace old and worn floors with modern, aesthetically pleasing tile styles.
Foreign trade plays a crucial role in the industry. In 2006, 81% of all tile sold in the U.S. was imported. Most imported tile is produced in countries with low labor costs and good access to inexpensive raw materials. However, imports of high-end tile account for a considerable stake of overall demand. Many consumers in both residential and nonresidential applications see European-manufactured tile as a highly fashionable surfacing material.
Demand for decorative tile in the nonresidential construction market will offer superior prospects for growth. Decorative tile can be installed in such structures as malls, airports, office buildings, retail outlets, and other municipal and commercial buildings, with uses including flooring, wall coverings, countertops and backsplashes, and other applications. Demand will also be promoted by continued spending on residential kitchen and bathroom renovation, the two areas of a home where decorative tile is most likely to be installed. Increases in the size of kitchens and bathrooms will also spur tile demand.
Porcelain will account for the strongest gains of any tile material through 2011, posting annual increases of 9.5%. Porcelain tile is more durable than ceramic tile and it can be fired to resemble natural stone, making it popular in both residential and nonresidential applications. Growth will also be driven by increased use of porcelain tile with through-body color properties. These tiles will draw increasing acceptance in the nonresidential market because, if damaged, the tile only needs to be sanded (rather than replaced), greatly reducing costs. While ceramic tile will account for the vast majority of demand in flooring applications, porcelain tile will post the fastest growth rates through 2011.
“Decorative Tile” (published 01/08, 257 pages) is available for $4500 from The Freedonia Group, Inc., www.freedoniagroup.com.