A new report on the UK Tiles Market from MTW Research has found that despite short term ‘Brexit Jitters’, sales of ceramic tiles are set for a £60 million boost in the next few years.
The 180 page report found that while there has been a slowdown in recent months, longer term prospects are positive as tile suppliers continue to focus on adding value to boost sales. In 2017 tile sales are set to top £500 million, providing welcome news in a sector where margins have come under pressure.
In the domestic tiles market, MTW found that consumers spent almost £6 million per week on tiles in 2016, with growth continuing to outstrip inflation. Wall hung sanitaryware and kitchen units are reported to be driving demand for higher value floor tiles. Consumers are increasingly seeking flooring which provides a feeling of space with a ‘luxurious aesthetic’, alongside other design cues such as narrow grout lines, textured surfaces and greater durability.
Internet sales continue to represent both a significant opportunity and key threat with online sales of tiles rising by 35% over the review period.
“Online retailers have become more sophisticated by increasing ranges, offering free samples, postage and returns, as well as offering excellent value for money,” says MTW’s Director, Mark Waddy. The report indicates that traditional tile retailers have enhanced service levels and shifted to a higher value market position to offset this threat.
Waddy anticipates “a ‘rebalancing’ of the UK economy, with UK manufacturing growing in importance in the next few years. We expect to see stronger demand for domestically produced tiles which, while unlikely to reach price parity with imports, are set to become increasingly competitive, particularly when considering quality issues and transport costs as part of a ‘whole life cost’ approach.”
The research also includes the commercial tiles market with higher levels of investment in UK manufacturing and pharmaceuticals set to offer enhanced volume growth for the UK tiles market according to MTW. With longer term forecasts of rising business investment, the commercial tiling sector should also experience reasonably buoyant growth across most end use sectors. Further investment in public transport and infrastructure is also indicated to offer some growth potential in the medium term.
The report lists a number of popular design trends in the UK tiles market in 2016, with modular tiling innovative design trends boosting sales in recent months. One example given is the growth in modular tile packs offering above market performance, according to MTW, as consumers and specifiers seek to add greater individualism to tile design whilst not unnecessarily adding installation time and costs. The report points to a clear shift in recent years toward consumers opting for bolder choices in terms of colours and designs.