Switzerland’s watch exports recover in June
Swiss watch exports saw recovery speed up in June, again driven by China and the US but with Europe and Japan still lagging behind, the Swiss watchmaking federation announced on Tuesday.
In June, Swiss watch exports approached the 2 billion Swiss Francs ($2.1 billion) mark, driven in particular by luxury watch sales. The figure equates to an increase of 12.5% compared to export levels in June 2019, the Swiss watch making federation announced in a press release.
Watch exports had increased by 71% in June 2021 compared to June 2020, according to the federation. For the last three months, the organisation has published the most part of its statistics comparing rates with those in 2019. According to the federation, such a comparison is more relevant (as opposed to comparing figures with last year) in order to understand the evolution of the sector given the magnitude of the shock last year.
Swiss watch exports reported a significant drop during the first wave of the pandemic. Exports fell by 81.3% in April 2020 and then by 67.9% in May. In June, watch exports suffered a drop of 35.1% as the sector was shaken by store closures and a halt in the tourism on which the luxury sector so closely depends.
“The marked growth in Swiss watch exports in June has further accelerated the return to normal,” said the Swiss watchmaking federation in a press release.
Over the whole first half of this year, exports have almost returned to their 2019 levels, according to the federation. With an export total valued at 10.6 billion Swiss France during the first six months of 2021, watches only need to increase exports by 0.5% to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Export growth over the past month was once again supported by the Chinese market (up 93.7%) and the US (up 35.4%). Exports to Hong Kong also increased (up 5.2%) following months of sharp decline since the start of the pro-democracy demonstrations which have rocked the archipelago.
On the other hand, watch exports to Japan fell by 11%. Exports to Europe recovered only modestly with a 3.1% increase while all of the continent’s largest markets remained in the red, with the exception of Italy (up 33.6%), struggling with an absence of tourists. Swiss watch exports to the UK dropped by 5.4%, by 15.3% to France, and by 11.1% to Germany.
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