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Based on data available to-date (and estimating fourth quarter domestic shipments), U.S. tile consumption for 2010 was 1.97 billion sq. ft. (+6.0% vs. 2009). This was the first year-over-year increase since 2006.

The following table shows U.S. tile shipments, imports, exports, and total consumption in thousands of sq. ft.

Year U.S. Shipments Imports Exports Total Consumption % Change in Consumption from Previous Year
2010 617,631* 1,394,779 42,044 1,970,366* 6.0*
2009 571,255 1,333,252 45,555 1,858,952 -18.1
2008 634,374 1,685,532 50,512 2,269,394 -15.2
2007 544,988 2,178,258 47,478 2,675,768 -19.3
2006 629,672 2,732,199 45,107 3,316,764 1.8

*Note: Based on actual 1Q-3Q 2010 U.S. shipment data + an estimation of 4Q U.S. shipments.

Imports:

In 2010, 1.39 billion sq. ft. (129.6 million sq. m) of ceramic tile arrived in the U.S. This was a 4.6% increase from 2009, in which 1.33 billion sq. ft. (123.9 million sq. m) of ceramic tile were imported into the U.S. Although imports still comprise the majority of U.S. consumption, import penetration has fallen in each of the last four years and in 2010 was at 70.8% (using the aforementioned estimation of 4Q U.S. shipments), the lowest it has been since 1998.

Mexico remained the top exporter to the U.S. in 2010 (in sq. ft.) with a 27.8% share. China held the second position, making up 24.6% of imports, and Italy was in third place with a 17.9% share.

On a dollar basis, Italy continued to hold the top exporter position in 2010, making up 35.6% of U.S. imports. The next two highest shares belonged to China and Mexico, which had 20.3% and 16.7% of the $ value of U.S. imports, respectively.

The top five countries from which tile was imported in 2010 based on sq. ft. were:

Country Sq. Ft. 2010 Sq. Ft. 2009 2010/2009 % Change 2009/2008 % Change
Mexico 387,678,293 374,298,957 3.6% -10.8%
China 343,091,529 292,339,691 17.4% -5.5%
Italy 250,092,602 234,771,586 6.5% -39.2%
Brazil 89,550,633 107,466,268 -16.7% -34.3%
Spain 70,701,917 76,637,815 -7.7% -37.6%

The top five countries from which tile was imported in 2010 based on total U.S. $ value (including duty, freight, and insurance) were:

Country $ Val 2010 $ Val 2009 2010/2009 % Change 2009/2008 % Change
Italy 454,447,747 429,686,411 5.8% -39.7%
China 258,682,812 216,275,919 19.6% -7.5%
Mexico 213,044,823 205,035,537 3.9% -24.4%
Spain 98,410,437 103,952,505 -5.3% -37.6%
Brazil 61,410,415 71,287,697 -13.9% -38.5%

U.S. Shipments:

Domestic shipments were estimated to be 617.6 million sq. ft. in 2010, up 8.1% from 2009.

Exports:

U.S. exports in 2010 were at 42.0 million sq. ft., down 7.7% vs. 2009. The vast majority of these exports (in sq. ft.) were to Canada (55.3%) and Mexico (23.2%).

(Source: U.S. Commerce Dept.)

Outlook:

"Despite the difficulty of the past three years, our industry has a history of growth and success, and we fully expect that to continue, but at a lower level in the near future," noted Eric Astrachan, executive director of Tile Council of North America. "Prior to 2007, U.S. tile consumption increased eleven years in a row. That is a very good track record and demonstrates consumer desire for the value, durability, and quality ceramic tile provides."