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Strong China Demand Bolsters Swiss Watches

Jan 28, 2021 7:24 AM   By Rapaport News
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Swiss watch exports continued to recover in December as robust Chinese demand helped offset declines in other countries.

Global shipments fell 2.5% year on year to CHF 1.72 billion ($1.93 billion) for the month, the mildest drop since the beginning of 2020, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported Thursday.

Exports to China soared 45% to CHF 306.6 million ($344.6 million). However, lower shipments to large markets such as the US and Hong Kong outweighed that improvement.

“China continued to post very strong growth during the final month of the year,” the federation noted. “Overall, all other markets fell by 9%, pointing to a gradual recovery, but still on a sharply downward trend.”

Exports to the US fell 2.4% to CHF 187.1 million ($210.2 million), while orders from Hong Kong slid 19% to CHF 175.8 million ($197.5 million). Shipments to Europe fell 10%, with most of the region’s markets posting sharp declines, the federation said.

Demand continued to shift toward higher-value watches — a trend that had been visible in previous months. Exports of timepieces priced between CHF 500 and CHF 3,000 (between $562 and $3,372) climbed 20% by value in December. Conversely, orders of timepieces wholesaling below CHF 200 ($225) showed the sharpest decline, falling 19%.

For the full year, Switzerland’s global watch exports dropped 22% to CHF 16.98 billion ($19.09 billion).

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