Tiles have emerged as the lead product category to benefit from a long term recovery in the market for building materials, with Asia Pacific markets such as China and India expected to lead the way as regional sources of demand.

In a new report analysing worldwide markets for materials such as bricks, tiles, concrete, steel, and timber, industry research firm Research and Markets says the tile market was particularly badly hit during economic recession following the GFC.

The financial crisis drove a steep fall in demand across mature markets such as the United States, Japan and Europe, causing a significant impact on pricing as designers opted for cheaper product.

While the trend toward price-consciousness is expected to continue, the report nominates the tile market as the fastest growing area of the overall market amid anticipation of a long-term recovery in residential building.

“Favourable demand from developing countries of Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East regions bodes well for the market,” the report says, referring specifically to tiles.

“The market is also witnessing favourable demand prospects for green tiles, which is expected to strengthen further in the coming years due to the growing environmental consciousness of consumers.”

Across broader materials markets, the report says the construction sector ‘hit rock bottom’ during the GFC and was again affected by the European crisis.

The report predicts a long term upturn amid demand for new housing and infrastructure driven by an expanding global population and rapid urbanisation along with particularly strong growth for green building materials bolstered by a growing emphasis on sustainability.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the report nominates the Asia Pacific region as the fastest growing market as the combination of a ‘mass exodus’ of manufacturing and production activity from developed economies to low-cost Asian powerhouses such as China and India and growing demand for residential and commercial construction underpin growing requirements for materials in that region.

It says China, in particular, is expected to witness ‘escalating demand’ for various building materials amid a growing economy and middle class population as well as increased allocations for a range of infrastructure projects.

The outlook is also being bolstered, meanwhile, by an economic and housing recovery in the United States.

The report also notes that cement and concrete represents the largest segment with regard to the Asia Pacific market specifically  (China and India are the leading producers of cement around the world), and that growth in this region will benefit producers of these materials as well as manufacturers of tiles.