Swiss watch exports rose in October with shipments to the key US and Chinese markets increasing and lower-priced timepieces leading gains as consumers reined in spending on big-ticket items.
Exports rose 5.1% to 2.4 billion Swiss francs ($2.7 billion), the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said Tuesday.
Shipments from the key Swiss industry have climbed 8.3% in the first 10 months of the year and are on track for another record year after 2022 exports reached 24.8 billion francs.
The October statistics bode well for makers of entry-level priced watches such as Swatch Group AG, which benefited from its namesake brand’s collaborations with in-house marques Omega and Blancpain.
Yet the figures also indicate a slowdown in demand for more expensive watches, suggesting consumers’ love affair with high-end brands is starting to weaken.
Shipments of watches with wholesale prices at less than 200 francs jumped 17% by value in October. Watches between 200 francs and 500 francs rose 11% by value.
Meanwhile, exports of watches with wholesale prices between 500 francs and 3,000 francs fell 1% by value while rising 4% by volume in October. That risks retailers being left with too much stock as consumers tighten their belts amid economic uncertainty caused by persistent inflation and heightened geopolitical tensions.
Watches above 3,000 francs rose 6% by value as some brands continued to produce ever-more expensive watches in smaller quantities.
Shipments to the US, which overtook China as the top destination in 2021, rose by 5%, while exports to China jumped 24% against weak numbers the year before.