Swiss Watch Exports Decline This Month: What About India ?

Swiss Watch Exports Decline This Month: What About India ?

THM Desk
24 Aug 2023 |
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The last time we saw a drop in the export of Swiss watches was in January 2021, a dip that was attributed to the dreaded pandemic amongst other things. Last month (July 2023) there was a slight decline (-0.9%) compared to July 2022, however, exports did reach CHF 2.2 billion.

Swiss watch exports in July 2023
Swiss watch exports in July 2023

Nonetheless, it is a decline. But what could we attribute this to? Are brands raising prices to offset higher inputs and profits? Is the booming demand for luxury watches cooling off? Let’s find out.

To begin with, the major fall we saw this month was in steel watches (-6.1%), while items made from precious metals remained stable, and bimetallic watches grew by 4.8%. There has also been a 12% decline in watches in the 500-3,000 francs price range which actually represents around a fifth of the total watch exports.

Wristwatches by Wristwatches by materialsmaterials
Wristwatches by materials

Last month the shipments fell by 0.9% ($2.5 billion) in comparison to the whooping $28 billion last year with the key markets driving this dip being China (-16.6%), Singapore (-7.1%), France (-14.2%), Italy (-9.7%) and South Korea (-24.1%).

Contrary to this Swatch Group has issued a report stating that the July exports for Swatch watches (MoonSwatch) have jumped by 61% with a rising level of exports of the entry-level brands.

The global demand for Swatch watches and the MoonSwatch not only continued unabated but even accelerated. During the first half of 2023, Tissot performed extremely strongly, with significant market share gains in North America. The development of the Group's own retail network, with growth rates well above 20%, underlines the unique positioning of the Group's brands. The retail businesses of Harry Winston, Omega, Longines, and Swatch developed very successfully. The share of sales of the Group's own retail business exceeded the 40% mark of total sales of the Watches & Jewelry segment in the first half of 2023, with average sales per store more than 30% above the previous year. Additionally, the Group was able to acquire a prime property on Old Bond Street in London and a store on the Champs-Elysées in Paris.

Omega Watch

Now coming to India. Where do we stand? Given the constant global price rise we witness almost every quarter, the impact of sales in India, well, for the most part, is not equivalent. For eg. the average price rise for Jaeger-LeCoultre in India has been 15-18%, however for the top references of Atmos and Polaris we have seen a 35-45% increase in price.

A few more price rises as of July 1, 2023:

Omega: 6 - 7 %
Breguet: 7 - 8 %
Blancpain: 7 - 8 %

The reasons could vary from inflation to increased production costs, expensive raw material and most certainly the fluctuation of the exchange rate.

Jio World Plaza, Mumbai
Jio World Plaza, Mumbai

Now although India may rank somewhere in the 20’s for Swiss watches, the imports to our country saw a substantial increase this year compared to 2022. Between January and June this year, India’s import of Swiss watches rose by 21% touching nearly 933 crores (CHF 98.5 million) in comparison to the CHF 81.2 million in 2022.

This year India will also see an array of new watch boutiques from Cartier, Panerai, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Tissot, TimeVallée, Galeries Lafayette, and many more. With the new Jio World Plaza soon to be inaugurated in Mumbai, amongst the dozens of powerhouse luxury brands that will be present, it will be interesting to witness multiple watch boutiques and multi-brand stores all under one roof. We have Mumbai’s renowned retail chain expanding its doors to the South while another family-owned luxury watch retail chain from the North is making its way to the West!

An exceptional show of strength and truly a reflection of the aspirations of the New India, clearly a market with a growing appetite that cannot be ignored.