According to recently disclosed information by the Fédération de l’industrie horlogère Suisse FH (Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH), the past year was marked with the highest ever exports by timepiece manufacturers from Switzerland. Total exports of watches from the Alpine country reached somewhere around $21.1 billion (19.3 billion francs), which is nearly 20 percent more than the year before. These results are in accordance to the unprecedented trend of rise that has been present for the last two decades with the exception of 2010, the year that was largely dominated by the recession.
The increased exports were present during the whole year of 2011. In each month, except in June when the rise was 9.2 percent, the quantity of exported Swiss watches was more than 10 percent larger than in the same period of the last year. Although the most abrupt monthly increases occurred in April and May, the most exciting time for Swiss timepiece manufacturers was the last quarter of last year. A simple reason for this is the fact that in this time frame, the Swiss industry reached the record levels of expansion that have been achieved for the first time in the history.
Good Prospects for 2012
However, as the representatives of the federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FM lament, these figures could have been even larger, if the Swiss franc had not been so strong. Still, a steady and strong demand and the presence on many markets throughout the world kept the exports high. Likewise, it is expected that this trend will continue, and the association of Swiss watchmakers is optimistic when it comes to the assessments of the events of future, even though the overall financial climate is far from perfect. These predictions are based on the quality of the products, continuous investments by the watchmaking companies, as well as on the growth potential of these products on important markets. For these reasons, it is expected that 2012 will surpass the record results that were achieved last year.
Almost 30 Million of Exported Swiss Watches
The predominant items that were exported are wristwatches which comprise about 94 percent of total exports. If we concentrate solely on exported wristwatches, it is noticeable that their value reached around $20.65 billion which is a bump of almost twenty percent when compared to 2010. As the reports show, the increased quantity of units being exported is also amazing. In the last year, the number of units that were sold abroad was just 200,000 units shy of 30 million. This figure is unparalleled in last two decades and substantially higher than the average results for the last ten years when this number was around 25 million.
Steel Watches Dominate Exports, Gold and Bimetallic Reach the Highest Increase in Terms of Value
The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH presented broken down figures according to the type of material that was used to construct these watches. The largest chunk of nearly 30 million units are timepieces made from stainless steel. This sort of watches makes more than a half of the total number of items. Stainless steel watches were exported nearly 13 percent more in 2011 than in the year before. Likewise, the value of these products also rose at the similar (slightly larger) percentage. However, the most dramatic increase in value terms was achieved for timepieces constructed from gold (rise of around 26 percent). Just behind the gold products were bimetallic watches that recorded the increase of nearly 25 percent.
When looking at the results of products according to their price, it is interesting to note that the highest growth was recorded for luxury items whose price surpasses 3,000 Swiss francs (which is around $ 3,270).
Substantial Rise in Hong Kong and the USA, Explosion of Demand in China and Slight Problems in Europe
Turning the attention to the countries where Swiss watches were sold, one can notice that almost all main markets imported items whose value enlargement can be expressed in double-digit figures. The biggest market for watchmaking industry, Hong Kong, which absorbs more than one fifth of Swiss watch exports in terms of value, recorded a substantial bump of nearly thirty percent. The second largest market, the USA, maintained a steep level of rise during the entire year, with the total yearly growth of around 18.5 percent. The biggest increase was, unsurprisingly, recorded on Chinese market. The total value of Swiss watches exported to China rose for nearly 50 percent and thus the market moved up one spot and replaced France on the third place. The biggest reasons for concern come from the European markets, which also comes as no surprise when the overall economic climate gets taken into account. However, two digit growths were reported in France, the UK and Germany, which was not achieved in struggling Italy and Spain. A double-digit increase was also reported for Japan, but only because the comparison is made with low results from 2010.