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A Record Year for Swiss Watch Exports, As The Industry Hits 26.7 Billion Francs

Robust growth for Swiss watch exports up 7.6% in 2023 despite growing headwinds

| By Xavier Markl | 2 min read |

The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry has just released their export statistic for 2023 – December ended the year on a positive note with exports up 5.5%. For the year as a whole, the industry exports recorded an increase of 7.6% compared to 2022, reaching their highest level ever at CHF 26.7 billion for 16,9 million watches. 2022 was already an excellent year following the return to pre-covid levels seen in 2021. However, signs of headwind are visible with reports of changing trends coming in from multiple directions.

The Swiss watch exports grew for most markets in 2023 – The growth was +8% for Asia at CHF 13,136 billion, +6.8% for Europe at CHF 7,921 and +6.7% for the Americas at CHF 5,081 billion. The trend was positive for the 10 biggest countries with the US remaining in the top position at CHF 4,161 billion (+7%) in front of China at CHF 2,762 billion and Hong-Kong at CHF 2,356 billion.

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Swiss Watch Exports 2023

Swiss watch exports continued to grow in December (+5.5%) and for the second semester in general (+3.6%), although at a slower pace. The growth for the luxury industry as a whole is expected to slow following months of sustained development, with macroeconomic and geopolitical headwinds and demand uncertainties in the US, Europe and China. Bain & Company suggests a softening personal luxury goods performance in 2024, achieving low-to-mid single-digit growth over 2023.

An interesting barometer of the market dynamics, the secondary prices continue to contract. In this respect, Morgan Stanley reports that these were down 13% for 2023, compared to a decline of -9% in 2022 and an increase of +39% in 2021.

Earlier this month, Richemont reported sales of EUR 15.8 billion, up 8% at constant exchange rates and 4% at actual exchange rates over the nine-month period ending December 2023. For Swatch Group, 2023 sales were up 12.6% at constant exchange rates, or 5.2% at current rates to CHF 7.9 billion. Last but not least, LVMH reported record revenues up 9% for 2023 at EUR 86.2 billion and up 3% at EUR 10.9 billion for their Watch and Jewelry Business Group.

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3 responses

  1. We need to consider the drastic increase of watch prices last year when reading the data which could be superficial in this regards. Just wonder how it would be like if the growth is not just counted by sales figures but by units or pieces of watches being exported from Swiss in 2023, comparing with those from previous years?

  2. As the first comment says, this isn’t growth from anything other than large price hikes.

  3. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future, It seems to me that they have just increased prices well above inflation for no other reason than that they can. My Swiss watches are the best ones I own but I will never need to buy another and with the current pricing policy it feels like I’d be getting ripped off if I bought one. I’m unlikely to do so.


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