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Weak China, Hong Kong Demand Hits Swiss Watch Exports 

June 23, 2024  |  Suzanne Watkin

Swiss watch shipments lost steam again in May as demand softened in two of the largest export markets. 

Supply of timepieces slipped 2.2% to CHF 2.29 billion ($2.57 billion) for the month, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported Thursday.  The drop followed a 4.5% rise in April, the only month this year to see an increase. 

May’s decline continued the trend seen at the start of the year, the federation noted. “The US remained at the previous year’s level, while China and Hong Kong recorded further major declines.” 

Shipments to the US decreased 0.5% to CHF 359.2 million ($402.6 million). In China, the federation’s second-largest market, supply fell 18% to CHF 194.7 million ($218.3 million), and in Hong Kong, it plunged 23% to CHF 175.5 million ($196.7 million). Other markets saw strong demand, including Japan, rising 6%; France, with an 18% jump; and Singapore which increased 4.5%. 

Timepieces over CHF 3,000 ($3,363) were up 0.7%, while those priced between CHF 200 ($224) and CHF 500 ($561) rose 3.9%. Watches valued between CHF 500 and CHF 3,000 dropped 16%, and items under CHF 200 slipped 1.2%.  

In the first five months of the year, exports declined 2.5% to CHF 10.61 billion ($11.9 billion). 

Image: A display of Swiss watches. (Shutterstock)

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