This report provides an overview of the Ceramic Tiles Italian market and its competitors: key sector data by segment, major recent trends, supply and demand evolution and their main drivers, market leaders, operators’ policies and business strategies.
The ceramic tile sector can be segmented according to several different variables.
The two main types of ceramic tiles are:
• glazed, whether by double-firing (used to make earthenware, cottoforte and majolica tiles), single-firing (to make clay or stone tiles);
unglazed, whether for stoneware, terracotta or clinker tiles.
• In this way, tiles can be subdivided as follows:
• porcelain stoneware (whether glazed or unglazed);
• others (e.g. clinker and terracotta).
Double-firing is the classic tile manufacturing technique, although it is progressively being replaced by the single-firing method. The material is heated to a very high temperature twice, first to shape it, then to glaze it. Excellent quality products can be obtained in this way, because the shape remains completely unaltered during the second firing. Double-fired tiles are sufficiently resistant to wear and tear caused by habitual pressure and friction, but are subject to breakage in the event of a forceful impact on a specific spot.
Single-firing means that the material is heated up to an extremely high temperature only once to press, dry and glaze it. This method saves time and money and results in a more resistant product, even for large-sized tiles. However, certain aesthetic effects that can be obtained in double-fired tiles (such as shiny finish and sophisticated coloration and designs) are not possible with the single-fired technique, because the material can become slightly distorted during the firing process and because the glaze is not absorbed uniformly.
To produce stoneware tiles, a stone mixture is pressed and fired up to high temperatures, producing material that absorbs very little water and is highly resistant. The properties of these tiles can vary significantly based on the type of stone mixture used. Glazed stone products in particular have been gaining ground on the market in recent years, eroding market shares of unglazed stone tiles. Both types of stoneware tiles have been replacing more traditional single-fired products.
Ceramic tiles can also be segmented by size:
• small (less than 20x20cm);
• large (where the longer edges measure over 50cm).
Tile products can also be broken down into two segments according to their use, as follows:
• floor and pavement tiles, most of which are the former (for interior use), but tiles are also often used for
• outdoor footpaths;
• wall tiles, whether inside or on the exterior of a building.
Ceramic tile products can also be categorised into one of three price ranges (with reference to the manufacturer’s selling price) that generally correspond to three broad levels of product quality:
• basic (less than Euro5 per square metre);
• medium (between Euro5 and Euro12 per sqm), sometimes further broken down into medium-low and medium-high;
• superior (over Euro12/sqm), including top-of-the-line products costing over Euro18/sqm.
These price ranges refer to both floor and wall tiles. However, it should be kept in mind that, for instance, some of the more technologically advanced types of floor tiles marketed to non-residential sector clients are usually priced above Euro12 per square metre, but ought not be categorised in the ‘superior’ segment. Also, wall tiles tend to have slightly higher prices than floor tiles of an equivalent level of quality.
Finally, products in the sector can be segmented according to the two broad client categories, as demand for particular products (in terms of aesthetic and technical qualities) varies substantially between the two.
Price-quality range distinctions hold true in both of these segments:
Databank’s methodology for Competitors reports begins with a careful screening to identify the main organisations that are representative of a given sector. Several one-to-one interviews are then conducted with the selected organisations. Questionnaires are sent to all the leading companies on an annual basis. The information collected is then verified by an expert in the particular sector using a system of counterchecks to guarantee that the information is entirely reliable and consistent. The process is then completed using Cerved Group’s proprietary information about Italian enterprises. All Competitors reports also include details concerning the strategies and performances of the leading companies in each sector.
To read report in detail : Ceramic Tiles in Italy – Overview