The value of Swiss watch exports fell by 3.3% in 2015 thanks largely due to a decrease in demand from Hong Kong. However, the sector still managed to earn the third highest export revenue in its history.
According to figures released by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry on Tuesday, revenue from exports fell just under the benchmark CHF22 billion ($21.7 billion) barrier that the industry managed to surpass in 2014. Demand from Hong Kong – the top importer of Swiss watches in terms of value – fell by almost 23%, almost exactly the same slump experienced in 2014. Russia, another important market, also replicated its downward trend of 2014 with a fall of almost 30%.
The Swiss watch industry still managed export CHF21.5 billion in timepieces - its third-highest results ever – thanks to good sales in Europe. Sales to the UK crossed the CHF1 billion mark, registering an increase of almost 20% over 2014. Other European countries with increased demand were Austria (+15.3%), France (+9.4%) and Italy (+6.4%).
Hong Kong, the United States and China remained the top three markets for Swiss watches despite showing decreased sales in 2015.
Falling Swiss exports
Figures for overall Swiss exports followed the same trend as the watch industry. The country’s exports fell by 2.6% in nominal terms, according to data released by the Federal Customs Administration on Monday. Like watch exports, total Swiss exports in 2015 were the third highest ever at CHF202.9 billion despite the decline.
Exports to the eurozone fell by CHF6 billion. The machine industry was one of the hardest hit, accounting for two-fifths of the total decline. Nine of the ten major Swiss export sectors experienced a drop in exports.
The decline was stemmed by an increase in trade with the US and China and increased exports in the jewellery sector.