News Thursday, October 18th 2012
Watch exports recorded a decline in September. Their value, 2.7% below the figure recorded for September 2011, amounted to 1.7 billion francs.
Source: Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH
This poor showing, while rather sudden, follows more than 30 months of steady increase and is not therefore cause for concern. It confirms the expected slowdown in growth and aligns the industry with its general progression towards the projected annual target, which will remain well above the level attained in 2011. The variation for the first nine months of the year indicates +13.6%.
Bimetallic watches played a major role in this downturn, while steel and gold timepieces showed a positive result. Amplifying the trend of previous months, the number of watches exported fell sharply. Most materials contributed to this decline. The categories of other metals and other materials did however have a stronger influence.
September’s downturn is attributable to watches costing less than 3,000 francs (export price), whose value fell by 10.8% and whose decline in volume terms was 10.7% on average. Timepieces costing more than 3,000 francs, which generate more than 60% of total value, saw their performance improve by 3.7% compared to September 2011.
Asian markets were most affected by the downturn. Hong Kong, China and Singapore recorded some of the steepest declines across the board. These developments reflect sales figures on these markets over a period of several months, with growth clearly losing its momentum. The United States also registered a downturn, albeit less marked. In contrast, Europe continued to bounce back. While France increased by only a few points, Italy and Germany recorded significant upturns. Other growth regions included Japan (+6.9%) and the Middle East (+31.8%). ■