The Watch Industry (Is Forced) To Look West To Navigate Through Stormy 2020

A slump in the West? Fear not, we’ll make up for it in the East. Or so, it used to be. The latest news is out and shows that the US is the fastest growing market for the Swiss Watch Exports. This is helped in no uncertain ways by the unrest in for example Hong Kong, which is a very important market and which has been lagging behind as a result of the aforementioned.

However, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, unrest is likely the least of the industry’s worries right now since COVID-19 reared its head in Wuhan and has spread at an alarming rate in the region. From an industry perspective, COVID-19 currently has reportedly resulted in (luxury) sales in the area grinding to a halt. Beyond China, the APAC region is a crucial market for luxury sales. The early numbers suggest that the region is effectively going deep red as far as prospective sales data is concerned.

As a result, the rules of survival for the industry have flipped: In order to survive a (massive) slump in the East, they’ll have to make up for it in the West.


  1. I also wonder how much is the sales to the Asian tourists from Europe and USA? I have been approached by sales people speaking Mandarin to me in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Brussels while visiting ADs. And the line at the Brussels airport with regards to the VAT rebate in 2017 compared to last year was vastly different.

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