The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER) has released figures which show that the Spanish tile industry is the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world. It accounts for 2.7% of all Spanish industrial production and directly or indirectly employee 100,000 people. Although production volumes were down 4.3% in 2020, the number of directly employed staff increased by 1.9% to 16,100.
The UK is the third largest export market for Spanish tile exporters, after the USA and France, and Spain is the no. 1 importer into the UK ceramic tile market. In 2020, Spanish tile imports amounted to 170m Euros, down from 176.7m Euros in 2019.
However recently ASCER has drawn attention to key challenges affecting the UK market. These include:
- Brexit, in particular the new requirements relating to UKCA marking for products placed on the UK market
- The increased presence of competitive products, such as plastic-based materials
- Transport difficulties, in particular the shortage of containers and a challenging situation in the international distribution sector.
- The requirement to adapt to new increasingly-popular formats, such as large format tiles.
ASCER is seeking to counter any negative influences on the market with a joint marketing campaign, in partnership with Confindustria Ceramica (representing the Italian ceramic tile industry) and TTA to promote the benefits of tiled surfaces compared to alternatives.
Entitled “But ceramic…is a safe choice”, the campaign has employed social media and other digital communications to promote the benefits of tiled surfaces, especially in flooring, with regard to hygiene, ease of cleaning, waterproofing, fire resistance and sustainability.