Swiss watch exports to the United Kingdom were down by 13.9% in January compared to the same month in 2019, according to data compiled by the Federation of Swiss Watch Industry.
Comparisons to the whole of the first quarter of 2019 need to be treated with caution because UK businesses were stockpiling product ahead of the original Brexit deadline of March 31.
The UK continues to grow over a longer time period, with the value of Swiss watch exports to this country doubling since 2010, although growth has been slowing as the pound has strengthened and watchmakers have increased prices.
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%. Across the European Union, the volume of watches has dropped by 10.6% while the value has risen by 1.1% over the past year.
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%.