News Thursday, December 22nd 2011
The very favourable base effect played only a minor role in the development of watch exports in November. Their value rose by 16.0% compared to November 2010, passing the two billion franc mark for the first time to record a monthly result of 2.058 billion. The cumulative value over eleven months rose to 17.4 billion francs, maintaining its very steady growth rate (+19.0%).
© Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH
Gold watches accounted for nearly half of total growth, thanks to a sharp increase. Bimetallic timepieces showed the same trend, further accentuating the overall performance. The increase in steel products was significantly more modest. The total number of timepieces was down slightly, due in particular to the category of other metals, which posted a negative result for the first time in two years. The annual rate remained very buoyant nonetheless (+14.9% to 27.2 million timepieces).
Growth in November was proportional to the price of exported watches. The downturn in volumes affected exclusively timepieces costing less than 200 francs (export price), whereas their value continued to rise. The 200-500 francs category posted a moderate increase in the order of 5%. The 500-3,000 francs segment recorded a two-digit increase. Growth in total value was clearly driven by watches costing more than 3,000 francs, which showed an upturn of 20.6% compared to November 2010.
The three main markets continued the trend begun at the start of the year. Hong Kong saw a slowdown in its growth, which nevertheless remains at a very high level. China did even better than its neighbour and moreover is poised for further growth. Meanwhile, the United States recorded a more modest increase, confirming the onset of a slowdown. European markets showed more volatility. France lost ground, while Germany recorded a sharp increase of nearly 60%. Italy, the seventh ranked market, recorded a two-digit decline. Unusually, Singapore also saw its value fall off. ■