According to Confindustria Ceramica’s Chairman, Giovanni Savorani, the Italian ceramic tile industry recorded strong growth in production, sales, and exports in 2021, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
Preliminary results for 2021 show total sales volumes of around 458 million sq. metres (+12% on 2019), exports of around 367 million sq. metres (+15% on 2020), and domestic sales of more than 91 million sq.
metres (+9%). The growth in exports involves virtually all the main international markets, with the strongest performances in the United States, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Total production of more than 430 million sq. metres marks a 25% increase with respect to 2020.
However, the positive situation is overshadowed by huge increases in production costs, especially energy, as well as shortages of certain types of raw materials, and maritime transport difficulties.
“The positive market sentiment and strong demand will allow us to close this year’s accounts on a positive note, but there is little cause for optimism. The dramatic increase in the costs of all production factors is putting a severe strain on our companies’ present and future competitiveness. For perhaps the first time in our history we are experiencing the paradoxical situation of being flooded with orders from all over the world but facing extremely high pressure on our margins,” said Giovanni Savorani, explaining that the Italian ceramic industry’s energy bill has risen by around 400% from €250 million a year to the current figure of almost €1 billion, close to one fifth of the sector’s turnover. “Even if we raise our selling prices, we still have to deal with an unsustainable escalation of costs,” Savorani added.
Energy costs are not the only factor of concern to industry leaders. Other production factors, such as cardboard, pallets, and shrink film, have also experienced price increases in recent months. On top of this, tile companies are also facing transport difficulties.
Based on a report in Ceramic World Review.