The Industry

The Italian ceramic industry’s “Made in Italy” label is recognised throughout Italy and above all internationally as a synonym for quality and design. The new approach to design is reflected in the industry’s ongoing efforts to analyse changes in lifestyle and tastes so as to anticipate trends and expectations and ultimately satisfy the needs and desires of the market.

Italy’s leadership position in the world market

The 236 ceramic tile, sanitaryware, tableware and refractory materials manufacturing companies operating in 2013 employed a workforce of 27,060 people and reported a total turnover of 5.5 billion euros, 75% of which was generated by exports.

Ceramic tiles

There were a total of 150 ceramic tile manufacturers operating in Italy in 2013 with a workforce of 19,430 employees. Production totalled 381.7 million square metres (+5.04%) and sales 394.6 million square metres (+1.35%). The market showed a positive trend, with approximately 3.6% growth in Italy (to 310 million square metres) and an even bigger 6.76% increase in exports to 302.7 million square metres. The industry’s total turnover of 4.914 billion euros (up 3.97%) consisted of 4.109 billion euros from exports (+6.19%) and 804 million euros from domestic Italian sales (-6.08%).

Investments totalled almost 286.2 million euros, close to 6% of annual turnover. Investments of 250 million euros are expected to be made in 2015.

Ceramic sanitaryware

Civita Castellana is the municipality in the province of Viterbo in the Lazio region where the Italian ceramic sanitaryware industry first developed. The cluster now extends over seven municipalities: Civita Castellana, Corchiano, Fabrica di Roma, Gallese, Nepi, Castel Sant’Elia and Sant’Oreste. The Civita Castellana cluster consists of 26 companies with 1,820 employees. Production increased by 6% in 2014, while total turnover also grew to 317.2 million euros (up 2.87%).

A total of 29 companies were operating in the Italian ceramic sanitaryware industry in 2014. While production fell by about 60,000 pieces compared to the 3.8 million of 2013, sales rose by 1.15% to reach 3.6 million pieces. The Italian ceramic sanitaryware market is very open to international trade and imports more than 41,000 tons of products from all over the world, especially from Europe. The average price has risen by more than 1.5 percentage points.


The Italian ceramic tableware industry consists of 9 companies with a combined output of 13,000 tons of finished products in 2014. The sector includes a large number of small craft businesses scattered throughout the country (not included in this survey).

In 2014, tableware imports totalled 74,100 tons with a value of 174.4 million euros (up 20.54% year on year). In recent years, domestic products have been replaced with low-cost imported goods, largely from China.

The industry’s total turnover amounts to more than 45 million euros, of which 31.5 million euros were generated from sales in Italy and the rest from exports.


The 35 companies producing refractory materials in Italy employed 2,129 people in 2014 (4 more than in 2013) and reported total production of 423,455 tons (+0.54%) and sales of 443,970 tons (-1.97%). Domestic sales amounted to 283,697 tons in 2014 (+1.44%), corresponding to 65% of total sales volumes.

The total turnover of 410.8 million euros consisted of 266.8 million euros from domestic Italian sales (+11.96%), 80.1 million euros from exports within the EU and 63.9 million euros from exports outside the EU (+4.58%).



The ceramic tile industry’s first quarter of 2014.

The recovery of consumption in the European Union, bringing Italy’s ceramic tile exports back to double-figure growth after several lacklustre half-year periods, is driven by Germany (sales up 16.46%), France (+10.18%) and the UK (+29.20%). Very positive results were also reported in a number of central European counties (Hungary +42.71%; Czech Republic +15.03%) and in the Baltic region (+43.11%).

Exports to non-European countries on the other hand are stagnant, with first-quarter turnover stable (+2.38%) after strong growth in 2013. Whereas sales have fallen in Russia (-16.05%) – amidst the devaluation of the rouble, the conflict in the Caucasus and the slowdown in the domestic economy – and in the Gulf region following the sharp growth over the past few years, exports in Africa (+12.08%) and Australia / Oceania (28.57%) have risen strongly.