Start of a marked downturn for Swiss watchmaking
The impact of the coronavirus epidemic began to be felt on Swiss watch exports in February. The value of exports contracted by 9.2%, to 1.6 billion francs. However, this does not yet fully reflect the actual situation in certain markets. Declines were seen in all sectors. The damage was limited for watches priced over 3,000 francs, which remained at almost the same level as last year. Several markets held firm, however most Asian markets fell, often posting very sharp declines. The United States (+17.8%) continued the upswing seen in January and benefited from a favourable base effect. In Asia, Hong Kong (-42.0%) recorded its worst monthly decline in the last 20 years, while China plunged by 51.5%. Japan (-2.1%) fell only slightly, while the United Arab Emirates (-26.3%) and South Korea (-11.2%) declined more sharply. In Europe, there was a decline in the United Kingdom (-18.9%), but surprisingly, continued growth in Germany (+7.3%), France (+12.6%) and Italy (+5.0%).