Italian ceramic tile sales totalled 392 million square metres in 2014
Figures released by Confindustria Ceramica indicate that the Italian ceramic tile industry closed 2014 with a slight recovery in sales, which increased by 0.8 per cent to 392 million square metres.
Exports climbed by three per cent to more than 310 million square metres and continued to be the driving force behind the sector, offsetting a further contraction in domestic demand of close to seven per cent.
The geographical areas where Italian exports have performed most strongly include Western Europe (+ 4.5 per cent) and the Far East (+ 6.3 per cent). The North American market remained stable following two years of strong growth, while positive results were recorded in Central and Eastern Europe, with the exception of Russia, where sales have been hit by the difficult domestic situation.
Production returned to positive territory as a consequence of export growth and completion of the process of selling off excess warehouse stock. Italian manufacturers elevated their output by 4.5 per cent to 380 million square metres.
Italian tile industry officials are anticipating even stronger demand in 2015 despite the continuing contraction of the domestic market. Local consumption is expected to decline by 3.5 per cent, but this foreseeable slump will be counterbalanced by an additional surge in exports which should ensure overall sales growth of above two per cent. Italian exports are expected to increase in all regions with exceptional growth likely in the United States.
Production will continue to rise with growth of 2.3 per cent forecast for 2015.