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Swiss Watch Exports Still Slow to Recover

China supporting the sector as orders from other key markets decline.
Oct 20, 2020 10:04 AM   By Rapaport News
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Swiss watch exports continued to decline in September, with China the only country to see an improvement.

Total shipments fell 12% year on year to CHF 1.6 billion ($1.77 billion), the seventh consecutive monthly decrease. Although the decline was softer than in previous months, the market is still heavily reliant on Chinese orders, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported Tuesday.

“The upsurge in the consumption of luxury products in China and the recovery in domestic purchases in this market continued,” the organization said. “Swiss watch exports therefore remain heavily focused on this region, to the detriment of other markets.”

Exports to China soared 79% to CHF 289.7 million ($319.2 million) for the month. Domestic purchases on the mainland have increased amid stronger consumer sentiment as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. Before Covid-19, many Chinese buyers would travel to Hong Kong to shop.

Shipments to the US, which had begun to stabilize over the last two months, once again saw a “notable” drop, falling 14% to CHF 185.1 million ($203.9 million) after the country was hit by a resurgence in the number of coronavirus cases. Orders from Hong Kong, traditionally one of the largest export markets for Swiss watches, slid 16% to CHF 165.7 million ($182.5 million).

Exports of timepieces priced between CHF 500 and CHF 3,000 ($551 and $3,305) grew 2.7% in September, the first rise in any of the major price categories since January. Lower-priced watches continued their decline, while those over CHF 3,000 fell 14% year on year, a sharper decline than in previous months, the federation noted.

Image: Swiss watches in a luxury store. (Shutterstock)
Tags: COVID-19, Federation of the Swiss ‎Watch Industry, Rapaport News, Swiss watch exports, Swiss watches
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