Another year of positive news from the U.S. economy, gains in the construction and housing markets, as well as historically low interest rates and falling unemployment, helped the U.S. ceramic tile market increase for the eighth year in a row.

In 2017 the U.S. ceramic tile market surpassed the three billion square feet mark for the first time since 2006. Total consumption was 3.05 billion square feet (283 million square metres), up 5.1 percent from 2016, and the fourth highest total of all time.

This table shows U.S. tile shipments, imports, exports, and total  consumption in thousands of square feet, over a five-year period.

This table shows U.S. tile shipments, imports, exports, and total consumption in thousands of square feet, over a five-year period.

Total U.S. consumption of ceramic tile (in square feet ) over the last several years.

Total U.S. consumption of ceramic tile (in square feet ) over the last several years.

Percent share of imports by country
New housing starts
Single family home sales


In 2017 the U.S. imported 2.10 billion square feet of ceramic tile, up 5.6 percent from 2016 (1.99 billion square feet). 

Imports comprised 68.9 percent of 2017 U.S. tile consumption in square feet, up slightly from 68.6 percent in 2016.

Once again, China was the largest exporter to the U.S. in square feet, a position it has held since taking over the top spot from Mexico in 2015. Chinese imports in 2017 comprised 31.3 percent of U.S. imports (in square feet), up from 29.4 percent the previous year, and the highest percentage China has ever held of the U.S. import market.

While the peso has fallen significantly vs. the U.S. dollar over the last five years, ceramic tile imports from Mexico have declined sharply. Mexican imports comprised 18.9 percent of 2017 U.S. imports, down from 23.4 percent in 2016 and down from 27.0 percent of U.S. imports just two years ago.

Italy was the third largest exporter of tile to the U.S., making up 18.1 percent of U.S. imports, down from 19.4 percent in 2016. The next largest exporters to the U.S. in 2017 were Spain (11.7 percent import share) and Turkey (6.2 percent). 

The five countries from which the most tiles were imported in 2017 based on square feet were, in order of highest to lowest percentage: China, 31.3 percent; Mexico, 18.9 percent; Italy, 18.1 percent; Spain, 11.7 percent; and Turkey, 6.2 percent import share. (Chart 3)

On a dollar basis (including duty, freight, and insurance) Italy remained the largest exporter to the U.S. in 2017, comprising 33.7 percent of U.S. imports. China was second with a 26.6 percent share, and Spain was third with a 13.9 percent share.

U.S. Shipments

U.S. shipments of ceramic tile rose 4.1 percent from 2016 to 2017 to a record high of 946.5 million square feet. Domestic production, which has increased each of the last eight years, has been boosted recently by the expansion and opening of additional manufacturing facilities in Tennessee. 

Domestically produced tile was by far the tile of choice of consumers, as 31.1 percent of all tile (by square feet) consumed domestically in 2017 was made in the U.S.

The next highest countries of origin were China (21.6 percent of all tile consumed in the U.S.), Mexico (13.1 percent), and Italy (12.4 percent).

In dollar value U.S. FOB factory sales of domestic shipments in 2017 were also at a record high of $1.43 billion, up 6.1 percent compared to 2016.

Domestically produced tile comprised 39.3 percent of total U.S. tile consumption by dollar value, almost double that of Italian tile imports, which made up 20.5 percent of the U.S. market.

The per unit value of domestic shipments increased from $1.49 square feet in 2016 to $1.51 square feet in 2017.


U.S. ceramic tile exports were 28.5 million square feet in 2017, down 21.3 percent. The vast majority of these exports were to Canada (75.3 percent) and Mexico (8.4 percent).