Tile & stone await opportunity in the new year
Tuesday, January 09, 2018 from Floor Covering Weekly
“We expect the tile market to grow by 6 percent in 2018,” revealed Raj Shah, president, MSI, adding that the continued increase in U.S. residential tile sales is driven by the consumer demand for higher-end products with a greater breadth of visuals and formats.
According to Doug Hayes, vice president of sales, Florida Tile, Millennials are starting to purchase their first homes and boomers are buying their retirement homes. He also noted that remodels and new builds will continue to have momentum coming into the new year positively impacting the category.
Added Shah, “The U.S. has amongst the lowest per capita sales of ceramic tile,” Shah continued. “This means there is huge opportunity whether it is commercial, residential remodel or builder.”
Tools of the trade
Thanks to technology, realistic visuals and new formats will continue to spur tile growth throughout the new year. According to Barabara Haaksma, vice president of marketing for Emser Tile, the company is looking forward to introducing products “inspired by fresh perspectives on format, design and scale.”
In fact, many manufacturers — such as Mohawk’s Dal-Tile — are planning new product launches and investments. “Our greatest investment is the new plant that we are building in Tennessee to increase participation in quartz countertops. This facility is very exciting and will be operational in 2018,” Gianna Mattioli, executive vice president of Dal-Tile Corporation revealed.
These investments, as well as technological tools are changing the functions that ceramic tile can be used for. “Today [ceramic tiles] can be used for pavers and countertops as well as flooring and wall tile,” MSI’s Shah revealed.
Vance Hunsucker, National Tile and Stone Manager, Shaw Floors, added that digital inkjet printing will also enhance tile’s value proposition in the coming year, with the selection of available visuals continuing to increase to “near endless possibilities” — including large format tile.
“Most recently, the compaction manufacturing process known as Continua or Continua+ is capitalizing on the ever-expanding visual possibilities, with the ability to produce size formats up to 72×144,” explained Hunsucker. “Being able to produce tile slabs of that size lends itself to other applications for tile, like countertops, outdoor pavers, cabinets, furniture and seamless shower installations.”
In fact, the future of the tile category, said Eugenio Megna, director of sales and marketing for tile manufacturer’s Fiandre., will be the focus on large formats and ventilated façades which have already received strong interest — because the market is embracing technology.
Large format tile, such as Shaw’s 18” X 36” Crete vinyl tile, will stay trendy into the coming year — especially commercially
Manufacturers identified countertop coverings and quartz products as pertinent growth spots in the tile market as well.
“Quartz continues to grow at double digit rates, and the new kid on the block porcelain is quickly becoming a significant part of the slab market and will grow exponentially over the next few years,” said Dal-Tile’s Mattioli.
In the midst of such a dynamic industry, there is likely to be unexpected bumps in 2018, but MSI’s Shah said the industry is ready for what comes. “The only surprises we see coming would be on the political front. This would be related to the economy being hit due to tax reform, trade issues, etc.,” he explained.
Industry competition too will be a challenge in the coming year but also help drive creativity. “We believe this will lead to better style and design options for our customers and design will continue to be the driver for our business,” revealed Florida Tile’s Hayes.
Fiandre’s Megna agreed, “It should be another year of growth in the residential multi units and hospitality markets especially in the sunbelt.”
“Overall, the tile market in 2018 should mirror what the industry experienced this year, possibly slightly up, with no surprises anticipated. Our hope is that the market will grow at an even stronger level next year,” said Dal-Tile’s Mattioli. “Tile remains the most stylish, durable, easy to maintain and environmentally-friendly flooring option in the market today.”
These days, consumers are using the internet and their phones for just about everything. The migration to digital is inevitable, and it has produced both challenges and opportunity for the industry.
Doug Hayes, vice president of sales at Florida Tile, stated, “The market is challenged by the continued growth of internet sales and expansion of home centers and national retailers.”
These e-commerce challenges may be daunting for an industry that has stayed static for years, but manufacturers and retailers are beginning to understand that keeping up with Millennials and their online activity is imperative. “Supporting e-commerce remains a key opportunity for Emser Tile in 2018, shaping how we think about and service the marketplace,” said Barbara Haaksma, vice president of marketing for Emser.
And with challenges comes opportunity as well, as the web is allowing for an abundance of design possibilities driven by Houzz and Pinterest. “Trend and design is moving quicker than ever,” revealed Raj Shah, president, MSI. “The internet is playing a large role as homeowners today can look at hundreds of thousands of ideas in a matter of clicks.”