Swiss watch exports broke records in 2022, HK continues to rank third in world’s largest market

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30th January 2023 – (Hong Kong) According to watchesbysjx, having just been published by trade body Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH), Swiss watch exports – a proxy for the global luxury watch industry – once again broke records in 2022 with an annual tally of CHF23.7 billion, a rise of 11.6% over the year prior and an all-time high. Compared to 2019, the year before the pandemic began, the number is even more impressive: a jump of 15.5%, which translates into CHF3.2 billion of additional exports. After a steady decline in export volume over the past 20 years – reaching an all-time low of 13.8 million wristwatches in 2020 – quantities have not recovered. In 2022, the industry exported only 15.8 million watches, an increase of just 0.3%, or only 49,000 units, over 2021 – whereas in 2000 Switzerland exported 30 million watches. However, the numbers are actually worse than they look. Take the MoonSwatch out of the equation – the bestselling Swatch accounted for about 950,000 watches exported and another 50,000 sold within Switzerland – export volume for 2022 is actually about 900,000 lower than that of 2021.

FH announced that the value of Swiss watch exports in 2022 increased by 11.4% year-on-year to 24.835 billion Swiss francs (equivalent to approximately HK$211 billion), mainly driven by a 14.3% increase in precious metal watches. Affected by the epidemic and anti-epidemic measures, the value of Swiss watch exports to mainland China and Hong Kong has declined year-on-year. However, the rankings of the three major export destinations have not changed. The United States has continued to be the largest market, and Hong Kong has ranked third for three consecutive years. According to data in December, the value of Swiss watch exports showed an “M-shaped” pattern. The export value of high-end luxury watches and entry-level watches maintained a long-term growth, but the value of exports for watches priced between 200 and 3,000 francs (approximately HK$1,700 to 25,500) dropped sharply by 16.2%.

On the contrary, the export volume of watches priced below 200 francs (approximately HK$1,700) increased by 9.7%, and the value of exports of watches priced over 3,000 francs (approximately HK$25,500) increased by 13.3%. With the continued growth of luxury watches, the sales volume of Swiss watches in the whole month fell by 11.6% year-on-year, and the value of export goods still maintained growth.

Looking at 2022, the export value of watches priced below 200 Swiss francs increased by 5.9%, followed by the export performance of watches priced at 500 to 3000 Swiss francs (about HK$4,250 to 25,500) (+4.8%), while export value of watches priced over 3000 francs reached 15.6%.
A breakdown of Swiss watch exports by retail price (percentages rounded up to the nearest whole number). Source – LuxeConsult