USA soars as Asia stalls for Swiss watch industry

Switzerland’s cheapest watches, and the country’s most expensive were star performers in March, according to rolling research by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

Unit sales were up 5.5% globally for the most expensive watches tracked by the Federation. Sale prices per unit rose even faster, resulting in an 8.3% hike in the value of luxury watch sales.

Switzerland’s cheapest watches, priced under CHF 200 saw sales rise by over 22% in units and value, the research found.

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The mid-market softened, but not enough to derail an impressive 6.3% rise in the total value of Swiss watch exports.

Exports to Hong Kong are in a tailspin, down by 13.8%. Chinese shoppers are buying less in Hong Kong, and on the mainland, which saw a decline in exports of 2.4%.

In total, Swiss manufacturers haemorrhaged CHF 65.1 million in sales to China and Hong Kong in a single month.

Thankfully, old world economies are roaring back. The USA imported Swiss watches worth CHF 218.1 million in March, a 22.4% increase over the same month in 2014.

If the slowdown in Hong Kong and the surge in sales to USA continue at the same rate for one more month, the USA will overtake Hong Kong to become Switzerland’s biggest export market in April.

“Overall Swiss exports up in March, but imports into Hong Kong continue to plunge, while China slips back with a small decrease after two months of increases. USA is big news with massive growth. Many of the Swiss brands appear to be focusing on the US while China remains problematic. Brands see the US as having the greatest global potential for growth,” says WatchPro editor James Buttery.

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