PARIS — Swiss watch sales continued to decline by double-digits in April, with all major territories except for the United States contributing to the slide.
Foreign sales of Swiss timepieces fell 11.1 percent in the month to 1.62 billion Swiss francs, or $1.68 billion at average exchange rates for the period, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.
This comes on the heels of a 16.1 percent drop in March. In the first four months of the year as a whole, there was a 9.5 percent decline.
The worsening in April was largely due to the continued deterioration of exports to Hong Kong, the number-one market for Swiss timepieces. They fell 17 percent, marking the 15th consecutive month of steep declines.
The United States inched up 1.2 percent, but Japan saw a reversal of the trend recorded in the first quarter and posted a 5.8 percent decrease. Sales to China plummeted 36 percent, while France registered a 31.4 percent drop. Italy was down 12.3 percent and Germany lost 11.1 percent.
Exports of watches made from precious metals led the decline with a 14.3 percent drop in value terms, while steel watches were down 6.5 percent. In volume terms, watches made from precious metals fell 14.4 percent and steel watches 13.1 percent. The month saw overall volumes drop by 8 percent, with the categories of bimetallic and other metals also declining.
Watches costing more than 3,000 Swiss francs, or $3,110, were the hardest hit, despite having performed relatively well at the start of the year, the federation said. A rise in sales of watches priced from 500 Swiss francs to 3,000 Swiss francs, or $3,110 to $519, failed to put a dent into the market’s overall deterioration.