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US Keeps Swiss Watch Exports Afloat

Higher shipments to American market in January offset weak Hong Kong performance.
Feb 20, 2020 7:51 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Swiss watch exports rose in January as demand in the US continued to increase, propelling the country past Hong Kong to become the largest importer of the luxury product.

Shipments to all countries grew 9% to CHF 1.79 billion ($1.82 billion) in January, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported Thursday. That figure mainly reflects a 15% increase in exports to the US, which outweighed a 25% drop in orders from Hong Kong, its fourth consecutive month of sharp decline, the federation noted. Supply to China rose 7%, compared with a 49% increase the previous month, while Japan jumped 15%.

Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have dented luxury demand in the municipality over the past six months, and drastically decreased tourist visits and spending. However, exports for the month weren’t yet affected by the coronavirus epidemic, which has devastated businesses across China and Hong Kong, the federation explained.

The trend toward shipments of higher-value watches continued in January, with timepieces priced over CHF 3,000 ($3,051) climbing 13% by value. Those between CHF 500 ($509) and CHF 3,000 went up 11%, the first rise for the category in more than a year. Shipments of all watches worth less than CHF 500 declined.

Timepieces made solely of steel proved the most popular, with orders increasing 11% by value, even though volume slipped 5%. Exports of watches composed of precious metals grew 10%.

Image: A Swiss-watch display. (Shutterstock)
Tags: Federation of the Swiss ‎Watch Industry, Rapaport News, Swiss watch exports, Swiss watches
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