FLASH: Asia accounted for over 50% of that turnover
According to The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH, Swiss watch exports in Y 2018 grew 6.3% Y-Y to CHF 21.2-B.
Although the value of exports was up, the total number of watches exported declined by 2.3% to 23.7-M items there were 570,000 fewer timepieces exported in Y 2018 as compared to Y 2017.
The decrease in the number of watches exported was mainly in the sub-CHF500 category of quartz timepieces, winders are in demand.
On the other hand, not only did the number of mechanical watches exported rise by 3.9%, but also the average value of those mechanical increased by 6.6%.
Of the total Swiss watch exports Asia accounted for 53% of the overall turnover, a 12.2% increase from the prior year. During the same frame, the Europe market shrunk 2.9%, but accounted for a 31% share of all Swiss watch exports.
Among the Asian markets, Hong Kong was up 19.1% while China came in at 2nd position with an 11.7% growth and Japan 3rd with a healthy 9.1% increase.
The 6.3% increase in overall Swiss watch exports last year is in sharp contrast to Y 2016 when exports fell 9.9% compared to the prior year.
The Swiss watch industry needs to be cautious though. While the exports in the 1-H of Y 2018 rose by 10.6%, they rose just 2.3% in 2-H of the year.
The mood at the recently concluded Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) dominated by Richemont brands like Cartier, A. Lange & Söhne and Vacheron Constantin, among others, was upbeat.
Richemont ended Q-3 of its FY 2018-19 ending on 31 December with a turnover of EUR3.92-B, +25% Y-Y.
By Varun Godinho
Paul Ebeling, Editor