According to a study by Deloitte in Switzerland, 65% of Swiss watch industry executives have a positive outlook for the Swiss watch industry over the next 12 months. Only a third expressed concerns about categories such as smartwatches.
More than 50 watch executives participated in the Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry Study 2013, which is the second study of its kind by the accounting and consulting company Deloitte in Switzerland.
The results revealed that 65% of respondents have a positive outlook for their industry for the next 12 months. Last year, only 49% of respondents expressed optimism for the future. Deloitte consumer business partner in Geneva, Karine Szegedi said: "Though the Chinese market is viewed less enthusiastically, executives expect overall sales to hold up well, thanks to demand from markets such as North America and from tourists visiting Switzerland and other European countries."
The report also stated that external business risks such as the strong Swiss Franc have declined markedly in the eyes of watch executives compared to 2012. Just 34% of the executives asked still perceive this as the highest risk, compared to 70% last year. The biggest perceived risk now is the shortage of skilled labour. The report noted that watch companies are aiming to combat this by bringing in, or improving, in-house training and apprenticeships and, in some cases, through acquiring suppliers.
The survey found that the top priority for Swiss watch company executives was to focus on innovation. More than 90% of the watch executives in the survey plan a strong focus on innovation through the introduction of new products and increased research and development over the next 12 months. Interestingly, only a third of the respondents consider a potentially disruptive category such as smartwatches as a threat – and only for watches below CHF 500.
Deloitte industry leader consumer business Howard da Silva commented: "For the watch industry innovation is key throughout the business, be it in the product development, marketing, distribution or use of social media. Mono brand stores, group flagship stores and e-boutiques are rapidly rising in importance. Online business opportunities are crucial for future success. As out study shows, up to 88% of our respondents consider social media today as important for the watch industry."