PARIS — Swiss watch exports keep accelerating, reaching one of the highest values in their history at 2.2 billion Swiss Francs, or $2.19 billion, leaping 19.1 percent year-over-year, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said Tuesday.
The $2 billion threshold had first been breached in June.
Nine months into the year, total exports are already 12.6 percent higher than in 2021, standing at 18.1 billion Swiss francs and with the key holiday period coming up.
Meanwhile, material categories showed a strong overall picture in value, coming just shy of 20 percent. Even steel, which saw a 4.3 percent decrease in units, rose in value 17.1 percent, the lowest increase of the month but still keeping in step with all materials.
The “other materials” segment gunned ahead, recording an 84.2 percent leap although its impact was moderated by its relatively modest market share of around 5 percent.
Performance across price segments, tabulated on the export price of items, remained “relatively stable” with entry-price timepieces growing and the ongoing decline of the 200 to 500 Francs mid-market, said the group, highlighting the leap in value of watches more than 500 Swiss francs.
According to the group, all markets saw strong growth, led by Singapore at 38.9 percent; the United Arab Emirates, 36.1 percent; Japan, 34.2 percent, and the U.S., 33.1 percent.
Most other markets also saw double-digit growth in September, particularly China, which had returned in the positive in July and grew a further 15 percent in September. However, the country still hasn’t returned to its pre-pandemic levels, still showing a 6.4 percent decrease compared to 2020’s figures.
The U.K. and Europe also continued to show healthy figures, with Germany’s 22.2 percent and the U.K.’s 18 percent among the strongest rises, and otherwise in the mid-teens or high single digits across the continent.
The only pain point remained Hong Kong. Exports to the territory continued to slump by 2.8 percent, amounting to an annual decline around 8 percent, said the group.
Standing at first place with 367.8 Swiss francs, the U.S. consolidated its position and widened the gap with China by soaring a further 33.2 percent in September, nearly doubling its pre-pandemic figures. Its overall market share rose 2 percent in value, from 18 to 20 percent, and pushed Asia’s slice of the market in value down to 49 percent.
While the impact of currency fluctuations, and in particular the ongoing strength of the dollar expected to continue providing tailwinds for coming months, September’s figures lend credit to analysts like Bernstein’s Luca Solca who see the continued buoyancy of the luxury sector as suggesting “that the high-end global luxury goods demand has yet to normalize,” as luxury groups start to report stellar results for 2022.