North America was the hottest market in the world last year for Swiss watches with the total value of exports by Swiss watchmakers rising by 8.7% to CHF 2.6 billion.
Global exports by the Swiss rose by 2.4%, with Asia up 2.3% and Europe rising by 1.0%.
Total export values may have risen slightly, but the volume of watches fell by 13.1%, showing that rising average transaction values are compensating for a falling number of watches ultimately being purchased by retailers and then through to end users.
North America saw this effect most starkly, with units falling by 17.7% while the value of sales rose by 8.7%.
The Swiss watch export data, compiled by the Federation of Swiss Watch Industry, shows that Asia remains by far the largest market in the world with a 53% global share by value. Europe represented 30% of the market in 2019, and America (North and South) accounted for 15%.
Momentum is continuing into 2020 for the United States, which accounted for the highest value of Swiss exports in the world for the month of January. It is rare for Hong Kong to be nipped into second place and the US is often third behind China as well.
The total value of exports to the US rose by 15.2% to CHF 206 million for the month of January, a sign that brands are diverting supply from Asia — where political instability in Hong Kong and the Coronavirus are hitting demand — to the relative security of North America.
Singapore and Japan also appear to have benefited from demand being displaced away from Hong Kong and China as they both notched double digit rises in exports from the Swiss.