Swiss watches exports continue to rally, grow 9.3% in October

Geneva, 21 November 2017, AFP - Swiss watches exports leaped 9.3% in October, growing for the sixth consecutive month and rising above the CHF1.8 billion mark (€1.5 billion), the Swiss Watch Industry Federation (FH) stated on Tuesday.

A watch by Swiss manufacturer Vacheron Constantin - AFP

In the press release, the FH wrote that "Over a ten-month period, the industry confirmed its recovery, and posted a 2.4% increase. Watch exports have continued to benefit from a rebound in some key markets and from highly favourable underlying conditions in October."

After several years of spectacular growth, the watch-making sector went through two tough years before starting on the way to recovery last March. From May, export figures were back on the growth track, and last month they were driven by sales in Asia.

China (+18.2%) and Hong Kong (+15.8%), the Swiss watch-makers' top market and their door into Asia, have both continued to gain momentum. Japan (+21.7%) posted an even higher growth rate, "but in the medium term its trend is still declining," wrote the FH.

Exports to the USA, the Swiss watch-makers' second-largest foreign market, were instead negative once again (-7.3%). In the UK, they grew 1.2%, while they stagnated in Italy (-0.7%), but altogether Swiss watches exports to Europe recorded a 5.9% increase.

In 2013, China introduced a series of measures to fight corruption, forbidding extravagant gifts, and this strongly affected the sales of luxury goods in the country, including prestige Swiss watches. The industry was further hit by a series of reversals, starting from the rouble's weakening, which eroded the purchasing power of Russian clients, the 'Umbrella Revolution' in Hong Kong and the terrorist attacks in Europe, which had a major impact on tourist purchases.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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