Swiss watchmakers exported products worth CHF 21.2 billion in 2018, the final figures of the year from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry confirmed today.
The froth from a rise of 6.3% over 2017 was slightly blown off by a year-on-year dip of 2.8% in December.
But 2018 was still the second best year this decade, beaten only by exports of CHF 21.5 billion in 2015.
For an industry sometimes described as lurching from one crisis to another and fearful of a slowdown in China, it is worth noting that exports have more than doubled since 2010.
The United States ended 2018 with imports worth CHF 2.2 billion, an 8.2% increase over 2017. It was the second largest market in the world for Swiss watches, behind only Hong Kong and a comfortable half a billion Swiss francs ahead of China.
In commentary accompanying the FHH figures, the federation says: “Half of the 30 most important markets grew in December, but not enough to compensate for the decline in other outlets. Hong Kong (+0.5%) was among the positive performers. Although the pace slowed a little, growth remained high over the year. The United States (+7.9%) accelerated significantly, posting an excellent fourth quarter. The drop in sales in China (-10.1%) intensified the slowing of growth observed since the beginning of 2018. Japan (-1.7%) also showed signs of a downturn, after peaking last summer. Overall, Europe (-5.8%) was significantly down, driven by the decline in France (-11.6%), Italy (-14.6%), Spain (-10.1%) and Austria (-29.0%) in particular.”