Stile statement
Stile statement
Tiles

Stile statement

India is now the world's second-largest ceramic tile producer in the world and the industry is poised for robust growth – it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.54 per cent to reach $17.36 billion by 2029. The current size of the organised sector is about Rs 72 billion while the unorganised sector...

India is now the world's second-largest ceramic tile producer in the world and the industry is poised for robust growth – it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.54 per cent to reach $17.36 billion by 2029. The current size of the organised sector is about Rs 72 billion while the unorganised sector accounts for nearly 60 per cent. That said, superior quality, a wide range of classic designs, competitive pricing and adoption of the latest technologies combine to make India a force to reckon with in the global ceramic market. Demand drivers Key demand drivers for the sector include rising urbanisation, increased construction, and renovation, rising disposable incomes and growing consumer preferences for durable, aesthetically appealing flooring options. Additionally, advancements in tile technology and the expanding availability of diverse designs also fuel market growth. “India is now the world's second-largest ceramic tile producer and third-largest exporter,” reiterates Kamlesh Patel, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), Asian Granito India. “And production has increased 15-fold in the last decade. With India's economy projected to sustain over 6 per cent expansion in FY 2023-24 and beyond, domestic demand for building solutions will surge. Also, a trained and skilled workforce has maintained high productivity, contributing to the ‘India advantage’. Indian manufacturers are adopting the latest technologies to meet global export demands, strategically positioning themselves to benefit from the ‘China Plus One’ strategy. International markets now see India as a reliable source for ceramic products, with superior quality and competitive pricing, making us a preferred global destination. Indian ceramic products meet stringent European standards and adhere to international quality certifications, building trust among foreign investors. Investor-friendly policies, a supportive government framework and strong R&D investments have made India an appealing destination for foreign investment in the ceramic industry. This forward-looking approach has solidified India's position in the global ceramic market.” “The Indian Government has planned 80 more airports to be added in the next five years; 508 railway stations are being redeveloped or modernised under the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme and 900 km of metro lines will be added over the next seven years – all these projects will need tiles,” says Alok Agarwal, Chief Marketing Officer, Orientbell Tiles. And in view of a CREDAI forecast of additional housing demand of 70 million by 2030, he adds, “The residential segment will maintain strong momentum owing to urbanisation. Over 280 million Indians want to buy a house among the 400 million population that is yet to own a house.” Listing some factors behind the boom in the Indian ceramic tile industry, Sumit Malik, Founding Principal, Design Consortia, highlights urbanisation; real-estate growth and nuclear families leading to real-estate multiplication; rise in per-capita income furthering demand for homes; and advancements in technological innovation like water-jet cutting, laser or computer numerical control (CNC) technology and customisation of ceramics in terms of layers and textural overlays, all adding to the vast range of permutations for applications of tiles.” Meanwhile, Subrata Basu, Vice President - Marketing, Nitco, is less optimistic. “In my view, the growth ratio CAGR will be far, far slower. Exports, the highest growth accelerator for the industry, will reduce by over 30 per cent, which is my minimum estimate. The ability to capture the export market due to anti-dumping duty on Chinese imports was the golden period for the industry, which is nearing its end. Also, Indian tiles had captured the global market owing to their significant price advantage over tile producers across the world along with the recession. The Indian domestic market growth has slowed down. Also, the impact on margins and working capital will keep making the industry less attractive.” Segment-wise market share Tiles can be classified by product (glazed, porcelain, anti-skid, terrazzo, vitrified, scratch-free, interlocking, etc), by application (floor, wall tiles, etc), and construction (new construction, replacement and renovation) segments. “The Indian industry is on a strong growth trajectory and continuously expanding its product portfolio with new varieties of wall, floor and vitrified tiles,” elaborates Patel. “Globally, consumer preferences are shifting from double charge to large-format tiles, glazed vitrified tiles (GVT) and porcelain slabs. The same trend is gaining traction in India. Several players are launching new format tiles with modern designs and thicknesses, inspired by glazing and digital printing technologies to capture the export market as well as to cater to slowly growing domestic demand for these novel products. Large-format tiles and slabs are increasingly being used as countertops, kitchen tops, floorings, facades and wall cladding.” “Vitrified and Gres porcelain tiles have seen the highest product type growth owing to versatility of design and large-format size,” says Basu, sharing his views about the segments that gained maximum market share in 2024 compared to 2023. “The market has also shifted to larger sizes, especially for wall applications, due to more competitive prices making the shift-over easy. This global trend is steadily percolating to smaller towns and is an impact of higher aspirations, which is very similar to television sets and mobile phones shifting to larger screens.” Offering his perspective, Agarwal says, “Glazed vitrified tiles, 600×1,200 mm in size, have gained the most in volumes versus last year. They offer the incredible flexibility of being fit for use for the floor as well as the wall, reducing the stock-keeping unit complexity through the supply chain.” In agreement, Malik says, “The reliability of vitrified tiles is uncontested. With advancements in cutting, operating and application techniques, maintenance, application and installation of these tiles offer great convenience.” Tile tech With the increasing popularity of smart homes, tiles are incorporating technologies such as embedded sensors or interactive features to enhance functionality and convenience. “Technology has helped make tile shopping easier,” avers Agarwal, “By scanning the QR code stickers on tiles in the retail showroom display, customers can gain detailed specifications as well as visualise them in their own room by uploading a photograph on our website.” Malik adds, “Advanced technologies such as touch sensitivity and interactive displays, which are integrated into everyday devices, further enhance functionality and convenience.” And in Basu’s view, “We see a lot of progress in tiles that reduce pollution, which are more sustainable, and protect against allergens rendering surfaces germ-free.” The challenges Manufacturers face challenges in sourcing raw materials; rising costs and supply chain disruptions complicate the procurement of these essential materials. “Towards the close of 2023, the Red Sea turmoil heightened logistic costs, affecting tile export volumes from India,” says Agarwal. “As a result, the Morbi cluster, which primarily exports tiles, started to focus on the domestic market, further intensifying price wars in the domestic tile market. There has also been a marginal hardening of gas prices and logistical challenges in recent times. However, the medium-term industry outlook remains positive.” “Global disruptions affected transportation and gas prices,” says Basu. As for regulatory compliance, he adds, “The ecosystem is built around cost, not on creating higher value. So, most manufacturers short-circuit the process to get certification standards and most local factories do not meet global standards.” According to Malik, “Raw material shortages control demand, supply, market value and availability and these market modulations give rise to cost variations. Wars and global occurrences like the pandemic present logistical challenges. Environmental regulations that promote health and safety standards are one more facet of material procurement. A thorough understanding of trade policies and tariffs must be aligned before manufacturing begins. Certifications and compliance assessment also impact the quantity of materials employed.” “Cost escalation, driven by volatile gas prices and inflation in critical inputs, coupled with the challenge of transferring these cost pressures to end consumers, significantly impacts profitability. Moreover, elevated freight costs hinder the growth of exports. To overcome challenges of soaring gas and freight expenses, intensifying competition, advancing technology and swiftly evolving consumer preferences, companies must prioritise investment in R&D, foster innovation, cultivate robust customer relationships and embrace sustainable practices,” suggests Patel. Sustainability concerns The industry faces sustainability concerns related to high energy consumption and emissions during tile production. Additionally, waste management poses a significant environmental challenge. Asked how the industry is addressing carbon footprint reduction and waste in manufacturing processes, Basu responds, “The tile industry, as a product category, has the least carbon footprint and also uses energy recycling across the process.” To this Agarwal adds, “To further reduce energy consumption, the tile industry can increase the use of renewable energy sources such as solar, natural gas and biomass. Waste heat from kilns is effectively used in spray dryers, making the manufacturing process more energy-efficient. External certifications like ISO 15001:2018 that highlight a company's commitment to continuous improvement in energy-efficiency year after year are available. Our company has a zero-waste discharge policy across all its manufacturing plants. All process waste and water are meticulously reused and waste generated during production is recycled back into the tile-making process. Even broken or unsold tiles are recycled, ensuring that no waste is discharged into the environment. Further, emissions from logistics are minimised by sourcing over 90 per cent of raw materials from vendors located within a 250-km radius of manufacturing facilities.” “The use of renewable energy is instrumental when designing a self-sustaining environment,” agrees Malik. “The use of environment-friendly materials to minimise waste must be teamed up with disposal systems. The judicial use of each resource as laid out by regulatory bodies and declarations aid in creating more efficient environments. Industry-wide collaboration to minimise raw material wastage is a tactical way to control the carbon footprint.” “The industry is committed to responsible practices by implementing environment-friendly systems, processes and policies,” avers Patel. “All our manufacturing units adhere to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications. Further, all the plants prioritise energy-efficiency and operate on natural gas in alignment with the National Green Tribunal's ban on coal use in the ceramic industry in Gujarat. The company is a zero-waste organisation and dedicated to water conservation through the development of water-harvesting facilities within its manufacturing units. Our company is increasing the use of renewable energy across operations. Our windmill in Kutch fulfills power requirements and reduces our carbon footprint. Strategic plant locations enable efficient sourcing of key raw materials and keep the carbon footprint to the lowest possible.” In addition, as he shares, energy-efficiency practices at Asian Granito’s plant include an installed heat recovery system that uses100 percent waste heat from kilns and dryers; a modified horizontal dryer heat distribution system that minimises gas consumption in the vitrified, ceramic and wall unit; and an insulated gas burner pipeline and heat supply duct line with thermal coating that minimises heat loss and improves production capacity. Consumer choice “In 2024, tile designs in both Indian and Italian styles are seeing significant evolution, influenced by architectural advancements, interior design trends and shifting consumer preferences,” says Sudhanshu Pokhriyal, CEO, Bath and Tiles Business, Hindware. “Indian trends are increasingly integrating traditional elements with modern design sensibilities. Terrazzo tiles, with their durability and playful yet sophisticated aesthetic, are a standout choice. These tiles are being embraced for their versatility and unique patterns. Additionally, textured tiles are gaining popularity in India, reflecting a growing preference for surfaces with irregular, tactile finishes, highlighting a move towards more artisanal and handcrafted appearances, adding depth and character to interiors. Italian tile trends are dominated by classic yet innovative designs. Moroccan tiles, celebrated for their rich colour variations and intricate geometric patterns, are making a significant impact. They appeal to those who desire an exotic touch in their homes. Another major trend is the use of bolder colours and prints. Consumers are moving away from neutral tones and embracing vibrant hues and patterns that bring personality to their interiors. This shift reflects a broader trend towards creating living spaces that are emotionally uplifting. Overall, the latest tile trends in 2024 reveal a dynamic interplay between traditional motifs and modern innovations.” “Globally, consumer preferences are shifting to large-format GVT and porcelain slabs and this trend is gaining traction in India,” says Patel. “Several companies are introducing new tile formats with modern designs and thicknesses, inspired by advancements in glazing and digital printing technologies. Marble and quartz products offer exceptional durability and scratch resistance with superior surface hardness and minimal porosity, making them highly suitable for households, educational institutions and medical facilities where resistance to bacterial growth is important. In residential settings, customers prefer floor tiles with properties like anti-bacterial, stain resistance and chemical resistance to withstand daily wear and tear while maintaining their shine for years. For commercial and industrial flooring, durability and surface hardness are crucial. Large-format, scratch-resistant tiles like double-charged and glazed vitrified tiles, which are stronger than granite, are popular in the domestic market. Porcelain, vitrified and glazed ceramic tiles are also top choices, each with their unique properties.” Comparing Indian and Italian consumer preferences, Basu says, “The Indian consumer, in the process of an aspirational lifestyle, prefers more vivid colours, shine and a royal look. Marble and polished tiles see maximum takers in India. Globally, post-COVID, the appeal for more vivid colours and a move from the industrial monotone look has been a growing trend. In India, we prefer more contrast whereas in Italy they prefer more hues and less contrast. Also, they seek lighter and sleeker elements.” “Trends that revitalise heritage value are on the rise among Indian consumers,” in Malik’s view. “Natural elements, timeless geometrical patterns and vibrancy brought in by mixing various materials and colours are trendsetting choices this year.” Installation imperatives No matter what the tile chosen, proper installation methods are vital to ensure durability, prevent damage and achieve a professional, long-lasting finish. “Tile installation methods have seen significant advancements in recent years, driven by innovations to improve efficiency, durability and ease of maintenance,” says Pokhriyal. “Modern tiling systems have revolutionised interior and exterior renovations, offering enhanced performance and aesthetics. One of the latest advancements is the use of adhesive panels that represent a significant shift from traditional cement-based installations. Adhesive panels allow for a quicker and easier tile installation process, eliminating the need for extended waiting periods typically required for the cement to dry, which not only speeds up installation but also reduces the mess and complexity associated with traditional tiling methods. The ease of use streamlines renovations and reduces overall project timelines. Another innovative method is laminated tile technology, which involves the use of ultra-thin tiles that can be installed directly over existing tiles. With special adhesives, these thin tiles adhere securely to the old surface without the need for removal, significantly saving time and labour, which is advantageous for renovations where minimising disruption and downtime is crucial. Laminated tiles also provide a durable and aesthetically pleasing finish, enhancing the overall look of the space without extensive demolition work. Digital technologies enable precise planning and layout of tiles before physical work begins, helping homeowners and designers visualise the final outcome and reducing the likelihood of errors and ensuring a high-quality finish.” “The use of laser markers and training support to masons improves the quality of tiling outcomes as well as the speed at which the project gets completed,” says Agarwal. “As masons learn to create the right bed and install tiles, it improves durability.” Malik adds, Meanwhile, Basu says, “Indian customers want installation methods of large formats with fewer joints. The only wrong practice prevalent in India is where fitters fit tiles with no gaps on the floor, giving the tile no space to expand and contract.” The AR and VR advantage Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) apps enhance the shopping experience by facilitating informed decision-making. “A physical catalogue after a while becomes like an encyclopaedia in size and volume, making it difficult for the team to showcase it across a table to an architect or a customer,” says Basu. “Digital tools help the customer visualise how a tile will look in multiple spaces and we can then shortlist with a small sample piece to experience the touch and feel.” “The digitally printed tiles are popular for aesthetic appeal while germ-free tiles cater to the growing hygiene consciousness among consumers,” says Patel. In this context, our tile visualiser tool allows customers to experiment with tile designs, patterns and colours, helping them visualise the perfect fit for their homes or projects. It provides a virtual platform to explore how it would look in different spaces and to make informed decisions.” Now that’s a s‘tile’ statement!-R Srinivasan

Next Story
Infrastructure Urban

Global Rare Earth Supply Chains Diversify Away from China

In response to the rising global demand for rare earths critical for producing everything from electric vehicles to wind turbines, supply chains are undergoing a significant realignment away from China. Historically dominant in rare earth production, China's recent policies and geopolitical tensions have prompted Western nations and other stakeholders to seek alternative sources and bolster local capabilities. Rare earth processing involves two essential stages: initial extraction and subsequent refining into individual oxide compounds used to manufacture magnets essential in various industri..

Next Story
Infrastructure Urban

Coal India, US Firm to Explore Argentine Lithium

State-run Coal India Ltd is collaborating with a US company to explore lithium blocks in Argentina, a critical step in securing supplies of the essential battery material, according to an Indian source with direct knowledge of the matter. This initiative is part of India's participation in the US-led Minerals Security Partnership (MSP), which New Delhi joined last year to ensure a steady supply of minerals necessary to meet its zero-carbon objectives. As part of the MSP, India was invited to engage in 20-25 critical minerals projects, with four already identified by the Indian government. Indi..

Next Story
Infrastructure Energy

India's Coal Consumption Set to Surge Amid Hydroelectricity Shortfall

Amid a significant drop in hydroelectricity production caused by inadequate rainfall, India is gearing up to increase its coal consumption to satisfy rising power demands, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights. This shortfall in hydroelectric power is anticipated to perpetuate India's reliance on coal imports. During the fiscal year 2023-24, India's coal production approached the 1 billion metric ton milestone, reflecting the government's strategy to lessen dependency on imported coal. Nonetheless, the country has already imported approximately 85 million metric tons of thermal coal in 20..

Hi There!

"Now get regular updates from CW Magazine on WhatsApp!

Join the CW WhatsApp channel for the latest news, industry events, expert insights, and project updates from the construction and infrastructure industry.

Click the link below to join"

+91 81086 03000

Join us Telegram