Swiss watch industry exports rose strongly at the beginning of 2018, boosted by substantial sales growth in Asia, reports the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Year on year, total January exports of wristwatches rose by 12.6% to $1.7 billion (1.6 billion Swiss francs), as the trade benefited from the dynamic performance of previous months and a favourable base effect, the Industry body writes. They note that after declining for more than two years, lower-end watches costing less than 200 francs by export price ($214) continued to lose ground in January, while all other segments achieved sustained growth, especially in the price range between 500 ($535) and 3000 ($3,210) francs, which saw an improvement of around +20%.
Among the markets experiencing strong growth in January, Hong Kong (+21.3%) posted its highest monthly increase for over five years. With a still stronger increase, China (+44.3%) climbed up to second place, overtaking the United States (-1.9%), which has been declining for more than two years. Like its Asian neighbours, Japan (+12.9%) also confirmed the strong performance of recent months. Overall, the European markets lagged behind somewhat, apart from France (+19.0%). While the United Kingdom bounced back to +4.6%, Germany (-4.1%) reported a fall, as too did Italy (-4.7%).