‘Very clear-cut recovery’ comes after worrying downturn in 2009
Swiss watchmakers saw a positive growth in exports in 2010, with the sector exporting the equivalent of CHF16.2bn – 2.9bn more than the previous year.
This growth of 22.1 percent indicates a return to a healthy and robust situation for Swiss watchmaking, with a level slightly higher than the 2007 result, which was considered at the time to be excellent.
The recovery was noticeable from January 2010, with all months in 2010 showing an upward trend, often in excess of 20 percent, or even 30 percent as was seen in March and June. Growth accelerated each quarter, finally bringing watch exports to a rate of increase of 24.3 percent in the second half-year, compared to 19.6 percent in the first.
The decline seen in 2009 has not been fully erased, as the sector has still to return to the level of export encountered in 2008. The latest results indicate however that the recovery is based on firm foundations and is set to continue in 2011.
Wristwatches accounted for nearly 94 percent of the exports by Swiss watch manufacturers, recording an increase of 22.7 percent to CHF15.1bn. With a view to popular styles and materials, steel was the material of choice for more than one in two timepieces, while gold watches were also close to the yearly average. A trend for bi-metallic timepieces achieved particularly strong growth, rising 50.7 percent by value.
Watches costing less than CHF200 (export price) were largely responsible for the rise in the total number of timepieces, with an increase of 18.5 percent. Timepieces priced between CHF500 and 3,000 were situated slightly below the average, while watches costing more than CHF3,000 recorded an increase of 24.2 percent by value and 29.8 percent by volume.
Hong Kong imported almost double the number of Swiss watches compared to its 2009 imports, with 2010 seeing a 46.9 percent rise in imports. The USA market grew 13.8 percent, with close neighbour France importing 20.5 percent more Swiss watches than previously. China saw the largest number of Swiss watch exports, reaching 57 percent more than 2009, equating to just over CHF1 billion.