Turkey: cramic tile exports continue to grow in 2020

Despite the decline in domestic demand, the Turkish ceramic tile industry has remained buoyant thanks to its continued strong performance in international markets.

Erdem Cenesiz

While domestic sales of Turckish ceramic tiles fell sharply in 2019 (down 21.7% on 2018 to 184 million sqm), forcing Turkish tile manufacturers to scale back production by about 40 million sqm (down 11.6% on 2018 to 296 million sqm), exports continued the uninterrupted growth trend that has been under way since 2016, reaching the highest levels of any time in the last 20 years: 116 million sqm, up 15% on 2018 to a value of US$ 664.7 million (+10.9%), generated by sales in 160 countries around the world.

Had it not been for the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic this spring, the Turkish tile industry’s 2020 export growth rate would probably have been even higher based on the results achieved in the first two months of the year: +31% in volume and +27.6% in value ($113.5 million) compared to the first two months of 2019, including exceptional 136.5% growth in sales in value in the USA and an excellent 30% increase in Germany.

Turkey, the third largest tile exporter in Europe and now the fifth largest in the world, also appears to have overcome the most acute phase of the pandemic better than other competitors, limiting the damage caused by the decline in international consumption and trade. In the first half of 2020, the Turkish tile industry recorded 9.3% growth in exports in value to $344 million.

In 2019, USA became the largest foreign market for Turkish ceramic tiles, accounting for 14.1% of total tile exports, up from 10.5% a year earlier. Revenues rose from $62.9 million in 2018 to $93.4 million in 2019 (+48.5%), and Turkish share of total US tile imports grew from 4.7% to 6%.

“We are optimistic and believe that the post-coronavirus period will represent an opportunity for our ceramic exports, which grew above all in June. In the tile sector it is highly likely that we will complete 2020 without seeing a decline in exports”, said Erdem Cenesiz, chairman of the Turkish Ceramic Federation.

Exports of Turkish sanitaryware had a different evolution. Despite a further 4.8% growth in value in 2019 to reach $271.6 million (the highest level since 2000), and a good start in 2020, the outbreak of the pandemic had a negative impact on export sales, and the first half of the year ended with a 14.3% contraction compared to the first half of 2019 at $116 million.

Read the complete article published in Ceramic World Review 137