Spanish tile manufacturers have reported an overall growth of 2% over the past year but admitted a decline in UK sales.
In the wake of the collapse of British Ceramic Tile, Ascer – the Spanish ceramic tile manufacturers association – said the country’s tile sector had enjoyed steady and sustainable growth in the past seven years.
However, it blamed “uncertainty caused by Brexit” for a 1.4% drop in Spanish surface sales to the UK.
The global market has been driven by growth in France, Italy, Germany and the USA, Ascer revealed. But there has also been a decline in sales to Middle Eastern countries such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Lebanon.
Speaking to kbbreview at leading Spanish tile show Cevisama in Valencia, Ascer president Vicente Nomdedeu Lluesma said: “We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we are living in a global environment where uncertainty is the order of the day. Generalised rising protectionism, unresolved trade disputes, doubts surrounding Brexit or the difficulties experienced by key markets, are all factors that are limiting our export capacity.”
Held from January 28 to February 1, Cevisama brought together 793 exhibitors, 542 of them Spanish. The show saw a record number of attendees and a 10% growth in exhibitors. It occupied more than 120,000sq m of space at the Feria Valencia exhibition centre, showcasing the latest products and trends.
The fair saw a rise in technologies like anti-slip to align with UK regulations for specification. Clare Baldwin, UK agent from Spanish tile firm Pamesa, explained that the pendulum slip resistance requirements in Spain are different from the UK, so there is a focus on making surfaces like highly polished stone suitable for as many applications as possible. Pamesa is now working to create an R rating suitable for the UK, so its surfaces can be installed as flooring.
Other manufacturers showcased anti-slip coatings and finishes like Peronda’s Planet range, which has an R11 slip rating on a polished porcelain tile.
Colour and texture trends at the show included a continuing focus on white and grey for the UK, however there has been an increase in small pops of colour to create more intrigue within the tile or wall.
Texture was also a focus for the UK, with raised tiles in white seen as a way to create intrigue without adding colour. Double-processing or third-fire tiles were also featured, creating a matt and gloss finish on the same tile.
The specification market has been given more options for cladding and large-scale products with a rise in 1,200 x 1,200mm or larger slabs. This was achieved by a variety of new investments into machinery. James Hartwell, UK agent for Spanish tile firm Vives, said: “We invested quite heavily in June/July last year in new machinery as a way to make bigger tiles.”
Coverlam by Grespania also invested in technology to produce larger slabs that are 3.5mm thick, so they are able to flex when installed.