Swiss watch exports in the first half of 2013

Results consolidated at a high level

July 2013

Despite a drop in Swiss watch exports of three per cent in the months of February, May and June, the figures for the first half of 2013 remain slightly (0.8 per cent) up on the same period last year, as the Federation of the Swiss Watchmaking Industry announced today.

The export value of CHF 10.2 billion for the first six months of 2013 is in line with expectations and leaves the industry on track to exceed last year’s overall export turnover.

Although watch exports alone reached a value of 9.7 billion francs (+1.5 per cent), the number of units continued to decline, dropping 7.4 per cent to 13 million timepieces and confirming the trend towards an increase in the average price of a Swiss watch at export.

Watches costing less than 200 francs (export price) saw a decline in the number of pieces sold by 12.9 per cent, while the 200-500 francs segment continued to grow. Timepieces priced between 500 and 3000 francs performed slightly worse than in 2012 with a reduction in value of 3.3 per cent. Exports of watches priced at more than 3000 francs grew by 3.0 per cent in value. Paradoxically, export figures for more high-value watches in precious metals fell but this fall was offset by growth in steel timepieces, which account for one in two timepieces exported.

The total value of other watchmaking products exported by Switzerland was 557.0 million francs, down by 9.6 per cent. Movement exports fell (-17.7 per cent in the number of pieces and -6.7 per cent in value terms). Alarm clocks, table clocks and large clocks accounted for no more than a small share of the overall result: 19.8 million francs (+4.6 per cent).

Markets In the first half of 2013, the fifteen main markets showed the following trend (total value in million francs and % variation by comparison with the first half of 2012):

  1. Hong Kong 1,934.9 -11.1%
  2. USA 1,085.8 +1.1%
  3. China 677.7 -18.7%
  4. Germany 607.9 +12.9%
  5. Italy 576.6 +7.6%
  6. France 555.8 -9.7%
  7. Singapore 525.9 -2.6%
  8. Japan 523.2 +3.7%
  9. United Arab Emirates 482.9 +19.4%
  10. United Kingdom 433.8 +28.4%
  11. South Korea 237.7 +5.6%
  12. Taiwan 218.1 -4.1%
  13. Spain 199.9 +19.0%
  14. Saudi Arabia 182.8 +13.0%
  15. Thailand 132.2 -2.0%

While Hong Kong remains the number one export destination for Swiss watchmaking products, like all Far Eastern markets it showed a decline over the first half of the year (-11.1 per cent). China, in third place, showed a decline approaching 20 per cent and now accounts for barely ten per cent more exports by value than Germany, despite its huge size. Growth in the second-placed United States slackened but remained positive. Overall, Europe proved a very attractive market for the Swiss watch industry, except for France, which recorded a substantial fall. Germany and Italy posted significant advances, while the United Kingdom and even depressed Spain reported very strong growth.

Source: FH