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China Rebound Boosts Swiss Watch Exports

December 21, 2020  |  Rapaport News

RAPAPORT… Swiss watch exports showed a stabilizing trend in November as buoyant Chinese demand helped ease the decline the industry had seen for most of this year.

Global shipments fell 3.2% year on year to CHF 1.94 billion ($2.19 billion) for the month, the gentlest drop since January, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported Thursday. Exports to China skyrocketed 70% to CHF 301.1 million ($340.9 million), though this was not enough to compensate for lower supply to the US and Hong Kong.

“The decline in Swiss watch exports has gradually slowed over the last few months,” the federation observed. “They almost reached equilibrium during November.”

Shipments to the US fell 2.8% to CHF 240.2 million ($271.9 million), while orders from Hong Kong slid 14% to CHF 181.9 million ($205.9 million). However, the UK saw a 22% rise, with exports to Taiwan up 19%, and those to Russia gaining 36%.

The improvements coincided with positive data from Watches of Switzerland, a UK-based retailer of Swiss timepieces. The company upped its revenue forecast to between GBP 900 million and GBP 925 million (between $1.22 billion and $1.25 billion) for the current fiscal year ending May 2, 2021, compared with an earlier prediction of GBP 880 million to GBP 910 million ($1.19 billion to $1.23 billion).

That followed better-than-expected sales since late October, with strong UK domestic demand offsetting reduced tourist spending and shopping-mall traffic, the company explained.

Image: Swiss watches in a store display case. (Shutterstock)


China Rebound Boosts Swiss Watch Exports

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