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Through 2026, global demand for porcelain tile and slab is forecast to increase 5.7% per year to 9.1 billion square meters valued at $133 billion. Market growth will be driven by:
- above average gains in building construction activity in the Asia/Pacific and Africa/Mideast regions, where porcelain tile is commonly used for its aesthetics, cost, and ability to cool building interiors
- increases in the average size of houses around the world, including larger kitchens and more bathrooms per dwelling, which boosts demand for flooring, interior wall cladding, and countertops and backsplashes
- increasing personal incomes allowing for greater investment over the long term on housing products such as flooring, wall cladding, siding, and countertops
- rapidly increasing use of large format porcelain slab in interior building applications throughout the world
Porcelain Tile Taking Share from Standard Ceramic in All Major Applications
Demand for porcelain tile is projected to solidly outpace that of standard ceramic tile – porcelain’s primary competitor – in all major markets and applications. Porcelain tile will be increasingly adopted due to its:
- favorable performance properties, such as its durability and slip resistance
- ability to mimic the appearance of expensive flooring materials such as natural stone or wood, which standard ceramic tiles are unable to do
Thin porcelain tile in particular has become popular due to its ability to be manufactured with large surface areas without significantly increases its weight. These factors make installation faster and easier by making the tile easier to handle and reducing the number of joints that need to be grouted. Consumers also favor reduced number of grout lines compared to smaller tile because it imparts a smoother final look and makes the spaces easier to clean.
Large Format Porcelain Slab Making Rapid Market Inroads Around the World
Large format porcelain slab used for countertops and backsplashes will be the fastest growing decorative tile product in the world, with demand rising at a rate of 25% annually. This robust rate of growth will be fueled by rising consumer awareness of its favorable performance properties, such as:
Historical Market Trends
Porcelain tile and slab demand typically tracks construction spending, as construction of new buildings often includes the installation of tile, and rising improvement and repair spending supports renovation projects in tile-heavy rooms like kitchens and bathrooms. However, other factors can also impact sales of porcelain tile and slab on an annual basis including:
However, prices increases can conversely support growth in value terms, as can a shift in product mix to higher value materials.
Demand by Application
Demand for porcelain tile and slab is expected to increase 5.7% annually through 2026 to 9.1 billion square meters, valued at $133 billion:
Regional & Market Trends
Flooring tile applications included in the scope of this study consist of all porcelain tile and slab used exclusively as floor coverings for indoor applications. Outdoor ground coverings are excluded from the scope of this report.
Global demand for porcelain tile and slab in flooring applications is expected to rise 6.2% annually through 2026 to 5.0 billion square meters, driven by an acceleration in building construction in China, the world’s largest flooring market for porcelain tile.
The Asia/Pacific region is the largest regional market for porcelain tile flooring, followed by the Africa/Mideast region:
The moisture resistance, durability, and favorable aesthetics of porcelain tile will continue to encourage its usage in both residential and nonresidential buildings. Residential demand will be boosted by trends toward larger kitchens and more bathrooms per housing unit, especially in the US and other high-income countries.
Western Europe accounts for the largest share of porcelain slab demand, boosted by its popularity in high-end homes and nonresidential buildings. However, the Asia/Pacific region will overtake it to become the largest installer of porcelain slab flooring, as it becomes increasingly popular for hotels and high-end retailers.
- stain resistance in both indoor and outdoor settings, as well as being heat and frost resistant, which makes it a top choice for outdoor kitchens
- greater strength and durability when compared to granite
- absence of discoloration or color change issues
- wide variety of finishes, patterns, and colors available from manufacturers
- ability to be used as backsplashes
- easy-to-clean, hygienic surface
- regional preferences in building style and decorative surfacing materials
- fluctuations in construction activity in China, as the country accounts for over 60% of global demand
- increases in energy costs – as tile production is a very energy-intensive process – that can greatly increase prices and limit production on a yearly basis, negatively impacting sales in the short term
- rapid changes in consumer preferences, as seen by the fast market penetration of porcelain slab countertops
- Flooring was the dominant application for porcelain tile and slab in 2021 and will continue to account for the largest share of demand and the largest absolute gains going forward.
- Interior wall cladding is the second largest application for porcelain tile, with gains supported by the increasing popularity of porcelain wall tile in bathrooms and kitchens. Porcelain tile is highly suitable to warm climates and has historically been a leading wall covering choice in many warm climate countries throughout Central and South America and the Asia/Pacific and Africa/Mideast regions.
- Demand in countertops and backsplashes will experience double-digit growth, driven by robust market penetration of porcelain slab countertops, of which this is the primary application.
- The vast majority of flooring tile demand is concentrated in these developing areas, as there is significant supply and demand for low-cost porcelain tiles, particularly in nonresidential buildings, as tile is low maintenance and offers high durability.
- In addition, the cooling properties of porcelain tile are amenable to the warm climates in which many of these countries are located.