Italian ceramics between growth and Recovery Plan | by Andrea Serri
Ceramic tile data report a strong sales recovery on all main markets in the first few months of 2021. This positive dynamic transcends the statistical bounce due to the calculation basis, and it is also accompanied by highly interesting prospects in the medium and long term.
In the first three months of this year turnover has increased by 9%, with strong growth both on the Italian market (+18.9%) and abroad (over 7%). While this progress is important, it is also a real one. Comparing data with 2019 pre-pandemic figures, the increase can be placed between 5 and 7% in the various areas. There are various reasons for this. We are witnessing a GDP rise in the world, driven among other things by an increased interest towards homeownership, enhanced confidence from families, and mortgage rates still low. Long lockdowns spent at home have increased awareness about the need to live in healthier spaces, to qualify indoor but mostly outdoor areas, or to move to houses that can best meet one’s own needs.
Ceramic is an intrinsically healthy product, easy to clean, highly hygienic, durable, resistant to temperatures and pollutants. The Italian ceramic industry has been able to combine these inner features with beauty and leading design, sustainability and quality, generating appreciation and broad consensus among consumers and final users across all continents. A big contribution was also provided by the campaign ‘The Values of ceramics’ which has been promoting the product’s key features since January 2019, along with its suitability for various applications and the reasons to prefer ceramic tiles in specific situations.
In a long-term scenario, the real aim is to make this remarkable growth in sales and turnover a permanent one – which has been a longstanding objective, clashing with the dynamic of the economic cycles. But this time an exogenous factor of outmost importance has come on the scene: the Recovery Plan. The incentive plan addressing all 27 EU countries includes a specific entry on the upgrading of private and public buildings. In Italy the plan has been overwhelmingly approved over the last few days: it is worth 38 billion euros and will last until 2026. This is a five year opportunity to seize to build significant and long-lasting growth.