Trend is towards ‘slim’ and ‘big’
Slim tiles are now becoming the trend especially in high end constructions. Slim tiles are thin and lightweight yet incredibly strong. Special manufacturing process of these tiles make them tougher, longer lasting and much more resistant to water and frost than ordinary tiles. Manufacturers like Kajaria and Somany have already introduced several types of slim tiles and now are planning to give bigger marketing push for these products.
It’s not just the thickness but size too matters! Trend is towards ultra large from earlier large tiles. Leading manufacturers are going for ultra large slabs in GVT and larger sizes in ceramics wall & floor tiles.
For example, Kajaria has launched new-size 1000×1000-mm PVT and 1×2 metres in GVT slabs (The Ultima collection). Somany Ceramics has launched GVT slabs with sizes 1200×2400-mm, 800×1600-mm, 800×2400-mm and 1200×1200-mm. Varmora Granito, Morbi-based manufacturer, has recently launched large slabs in GVT with sizes 1200x1200mm, 1200×2400-mm, 800×1600-mm and 900×1800-mm in six series. Another Morbi-based manufacturer, Lioli Ceramics launched, at ET Acetech, for the first time in India – biggest ever slab (3200×1600-mm). Qutone Ceramics too has ultra large slabs under its IMarble series.
In recent years, many companies from Morbi have started manufacturing large sized tiles. In India there are 12-15 plants making large slab tiles competing all over the world. However, the market for these products is not very big and that’s the reason why large organised players like Kajaria and Somany are waiting for the market to grow. Although these innovative products enjoy higher margins, since demand is limited, even new players find it difficult to breakeven and at times these companies, in order to scale up their utilisation, get into contract manufacturing for large organised players. Thus, in such niche categories, Kajaria and Somany prefer to outsource and plan to set up their own plants only once the market attains decent size.
Trend is fast changing in bathware segment too thanks mainly to intense competition and evolution of e-commerce. New and innovative products are being introduced by the manufacturers to attract new customers and also to meet expectation of the demanding customers. Somany has launched 2×1 premium wall tiles with third fire technology with 16 SKUs.
Kajaria also launched new designs in old sizes like 600×1200-mm full-body vitrified tiles, Terrazzo, 800×1600-mm double charged vitrified tiles, 800x800mm GVT and 600×600-mm GVT in different finishes.
Another strategy adopted by the leading tiles manufacturers like Kajaria, Somany and Asian Granito is to focus on introducing large-sized tiles in all categories as they command higher prices per sqm because of better look and shine. Further, small time players do not have the manufacturing capability to produce large sized tiles due to which there is not much crowd in this segment.