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American Demand Drives Swiss Watch Exports

Country was the top market for timepieces in August.
Sep 19, 2019 5:53 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Swiss watch exports rose 1.5% year on year to CHF 1.52 billion ($1.53 billion) in August amid increased growth in US demand ahead of the September 1 tariff hikes.

“In the US, growth continued to increase regularly, making it the top export market,” the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported last week. 

Shipments to the US climbed 15% to CHF 177.3 million ($178.4 million), in contrast to 9% growth in August 2018. That increase outweighed a 13% decrease in supply to Hong Kong to CHF 166.4 million ($167.5 million). Exports to China grew 14% to CHF 146 million ($146.9 million), while those to Japan jumped 35% to CHF 123.3 million ($124.1 million).

Imports at major retail ports in the US reached unusually high numbers in August, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Global Port Tracker report. US retailers are still trying to minimize the impact of the trade war on consumers by bringing in as much merchandise as possible prior to each new round of prices, the NRF noted. Importing goods prior to the tax increase will prevent retailers from having to raise the price of goods to recoup the cost of the higher levies. 

While overall demand for watches increased. appetite for lower-value timepieces continued to decline, with orders of watches priced under CHF 500 ($503) recording double-digit decreases for the 11th consecutive month. Shipments of watches worth less than CHF 200 ($201) fell 13% by value. Exports of timepieces between CHF 200 and CHF 500 slid 11%, while those valued from CHF 500 to CHF 3,000 ($3,019) slipped 1.7%. Supply of products price over CHF 3,000 increased 6%.

Similarly, exports of watches made from lower-quality materials declined. Exports of steel watches dropped 1.8% to CHF 567.1 million ($570.7 million), an ongoing slowdown, the federation noted, while shipments of timepieces in the “other materials” category fell 12% to CHF 37.9 million ($38.1 million), recording a disappointing performance, it added. Supply of watches made from precious metals, which have shown consistent growth over the last 12 months, rose 5% to CHF 487.3 million ($490.4 million),.

Image: Swiss watches in a shop window. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: Federation of the Swiss ‎Watch Industry, Global Port Tracker, National Retail Federation, NRF, Rapaport News, Swiss watch exports
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