The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry has shared its latest insights concerning the Swiss watch exports for March 2022. The March data is essentially positive with a modest increase in both volumes and value of watches exported. However, the FH notes that the “rise in total volumes seen during the first quarter (+7.4%, or 240,000 items more than in 2021) left the sector at a historically low level”.
Rather unsurprisingly, the market-specific data shows the USA at the top. However, rather surprisingly we see a steep negative drop for China yet it still holds the silver medal in terms of market share. That said, any watch brand having all (or most of) its eggs in the Chinese basket will have experienced a very rough start to 2022. Brands with a more diversified market appeal will have had more reason to celebrate.
In addition, following the crisis in Ukraine, “Swiss watch exports to Russia (-95.6%) came to a halt in March and were valued at less than 1 million francs. The result was a reduction of 20.6 million francs, for a market that represented 1% of exports in 2021.” Note that the ban of Swiss watch exports also triggered a reprisal by Russia as it seized millions worth of Swiss watches already in the country, further exacerbating the massive first-quarter hangover for this particular market.
Looking at the Swiss watch exports by price categories, we see a continuation of the trend whereby the lower-priced categories take a further haircut (how much hair is left, I wonder). “At the same time, watches priced at over 3,000 francs grew strongly.”
Quick reminder that all the figures released by FH refer to “exports data and not to sales to end-consumers. These data must be regarded as consolidated figures gathering export results from all Swiss watch companies. They obviously cannot reflect the individual results of one particular company or group of companies, knowing that business activity may greatly vary from one to the other”.