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Swiss Watch Exports Slowly Recovering

Shipments down 12% year on year in August, but better than in July.
Sep 17, 2020 8:27 AM   By Rapaport News
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The decline in Swiss watch exports continued to ease slightly in August, as orders from China rose.

Total shipments fell 12% year on year to CHF 1.34 billion ($1.48 billion), the sixth consecutive monthly decline. However, the decrease was softer than July’s 17% drop, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported Thursday.

“While the trend in Swiss watch exports is still down, the initial shock is gradually being absorbed as sales have recovered over the last few months,” the organization said. “Overall, and in terms of exports, the markets were difficult for Swiss watchmaking, except for China, which grew very strongly for the third month in a row.”

Exports to China jumped 45% to CHF 211.6 million ($232.1 million) for the month. Much of the improvement is a result of an increase in domestic purchases, as consumers are unable to buy abroad, the organization added. Before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese buyers would travel to Hong Kong to make purchases.

Shipments to the US slipped 4% to CHF 170.6 million ($187.1 million), after stabilizing in July following “one of the worst second quarters in comparison with other countries.” Orders from Hong Kong, traditionally one of the largest export markets for Swiss watches, slid 16% to CHF 139.2 million ($152.7 million).

Exports of higher-priced timepieces saw a lesser decline than those at lower price points in August. Watches priced below CHF 200 ($219) showed no improvement from July, falling 36%, while other price ranges “are gradually beginning to perform better, and fell less sharply,” the federation said. Timepieces costing more than CHF 3,000 ($3,292) slipped 9% during the month. 

Image: A man wearing a Swiss watch. (Shutterstock)
Tags: Federation of the Swiss ‎Watch Industry, Rapaport News, swiss watch, Swiss watch exports
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