The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS) has just released its export statistics for the month of November 2022. At over 2.4 billion Swiss Francs for November only (+10.9% compared to last year), Swiss watch exports recorded their best-ever performance over a single month. Over the first 11 months of 2022, at CHF 22,809 million, exports are 11.9% higher than in 2021. Looking back a year ago, 2021 was the highest year ever for Swiss watch exports, at CHF 22,297 million for the entire year. This means that this previous record has already been exceeded in 2022, while we’re only looking at statistics at the end of November. The Swiss watch industry is about to record its best-ever export performance over the course of a year in 2022. But will it last?
Overall, growth is fueled by higher-priced models. These retain their appeal and have enjoyed continuous growth, while the low/mid-end segments have been under pressure for several years. If the value of Swiss watches shipments increased by 12.1%, the export quantities are almost at the same level as in 2021 (1.7%).
Growth across the board… except in China
With this positive trend, exports are up for most markets. The growth is led by old continents. The USA remains the first destination for Swiss Watches (CHF 3,579 million, +27.7%). The trend is also positive in Europe (CHF 6,780 million, +15.8%) as in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Among the top 10 markets, the growth is solid too in Japan, Singapore and the UAE.
On the contrary, exports to China (CHF 2,737 million, -12,8%) and Hong Kong (CHF 1,949 million, -9,7%) are down. If it remains crucial to the future of the industry, China confronts a challenging phase, in particular with lockdowns. Luxury brands now hope for a rebound in spending with a softened zero-covid policy.
The Swiss watch industry is in the process of significant change accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, its impact on international travel, the e-commerce revolution and the emergence of the second-hand market. After bouncing back vigorously from the Covid-19 recession, the luxury watch market might have a much more challenging year in 2023. The performance will largely depend on geopolitical tensions, American and European consumer confidence in the face of rising inflation and a potential recession, as well as on the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in China.
For more details about Swiss watch exports, please visit www.fhs.swiss.