Demand for Australian-made skyrockets as Aussies buy local

LOOK LOCAL: Australian design in 2020/21 includes slab tiles up to three metres long.
LOOK LOCAL: Australian design in 2020/21 includes slab tiles up to three metres long.

Australian manufactured tiles are more in demand than ever, as Australians have been proactively seeking to support local businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

It's a welcome trend that's tipped to only increase, as everyone from mum and dad renovators through to professional builders look to shop local for their building materials.

The upsurge ties into a broader shift in consumer habits which was predicted as early as March this year by industry commentators and futurists such as Mark Pesce.

Experiencing this firsthand is Australian tile retailer, Beaumont Tiles, which has seen a spike of 20 per cent in sales of Australian products this financial year alone.

Nowadays Aussie tiles really lead our own style narrative, which favours indoor-outdoor living and utilises application that are sympathetic to our often harsh environment.

Dean Booker, Beaumont Tiles

Dean Booker, an industry veteran and national buyer for Beaumont Tiles, has noticed this change in consumer behaviour, observing that since the start of the coronavirus pandemic consumers have asked store staff to only point out Australian-made tiles so they can actively shop local.

"Beaumonts has always supported the local tile industry and currently we have the largest selection of locally manufactured tiles in Australia," Booker said.

"Of the six million square metres of the tiles manufactured in Australia, we currently sell more than a third through our 118 stores and website.

"The need for locally manufactured tiles really became apparent in the 1980s, as the Australian design aesthetic was really starting to differ from, say, Europe or Asia - the main tile manufacturing hubs of the world.

"Nowadays Aussie tiles really lead our own style narrative, which favours indoor-outdoor living and utilises application that are sympathetic to our often harsh environment," Booker added.

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TREND: Increased interest in Australian-made tiles supports the 'buy local' ethos.

TREND: Increased interest in Australian-made tiles supports the 'buy local' ethos.

What does the future have in store?

Australian design in 2020/21 leans towards slab tiles of up to three metres in length, with colourful decorative tiles and timber-look tiles all continuing to be extremely popular.

Supplying from local manufacturers also has flow-on benefits for businesses, thanks to the efficiency of delivery and price points.

Chris Schneider, managing director of Australian manufacturer National Ceramic Industries Australia, said the onset of the pandemic had resulted in an influx of orders from retailers such as Beaumonts.

"We have definitely seen a pickup in demand from our retail partners over the past few months - it's the busiest that we've been in our 16 years of manufacturing," Schneider said.

"Beaumont Tiles have been long-time supporters of locally made tiles, and this Australian focus is something we expect to see rapidly increase across all sectors as the 'shop local' movement continues to drive consumer choice."

It all bodes well for local industries working towards a brighter, profitable future.