Italian ceramic tile sales increased by 16.5% to €7.2 billion (£6.1bn) in 2022, bolstered by what was called “an extraordinary performance” in the first six months of the year.
The figures were revealed by Italian ceramics industry body Confindustria Ceramica in its report on sales of ceramicware, including tiles, slabs and sanitaryware, which included 259 companies with 26,500 direct employees.
The total figure for all ceramicware sales in 2022 was €8.7bn (£7.5bn), with tiles accounting for €7.2bn of that. Of those tile sales, 83% (€6bn) was sold to export. The figures encompass 128 ceramic tile manufacturers, employing more than 18,000 workers, producing 448.9 million square metres of tiles. Although that was down 0.9% on 2021, revenue was up 16.5%. Sales in Italy totalled €1.2bn.
Investments made by tile producers totalled €441.3 million – up 25.6% on 2021.
The report included 30 ceramic sanitaryware manufacturers, employing 2,652 people and producing 3.6 million pieces. Turnover totalled €396.9 million, including €156.8m from exports (40%).
Despite a successful 2022, the report said that sales slowed in the first quarter of 2023 with export revenues down by 13%.
Commenting on the figures, Confindustria Ceramica chairman Giovanni Savorani, said: “Over the past few years we have been witnessing a series of extraordinary historical events. Last year saw the initial months of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, while this year the Romagna region has been experiencing disastrous flooding. An event of unimaginable proportions, it claimed 15 lives, devastated entire provinces and even brought some of our companies’ production activities to a halt for a few days, although they have now all resumed operation.
“Export volumes fell by 25% in the first quarter of 2023 across all markets. Italian domestic sales volumes also fell, albeit by less than 10%. Export revenues likewise declined by around 13%, whereas Italian sales revenues grew by a few percentage points.
“A return to lower values was fairly predictable following the extraordinary performance of the first six months of 2022, although the contraction was mainly caused by dramatic changes in the international scenario, including a sudden rise in interest rates, persistently high inflation, the end of the post-lockdown boom in consumption, and worsening consumer confidence. In this context, international competition is becoming increasingly fierce and the Italian and European industries are watching very closely to ensure that fair trading practices are followed by all exporters, including those from India and China.”