PARIS — The month of January brought more bad news for the Swiss watch industry.
Exports of Swiss timepieces fell 7.9 percent in January to 1.52 billion Swiss francs, or $1.51 billion at average exchange rates for the period, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.
This comes on the heels of a 3.8 percent decline in December, and a drop of 3.3 percent in 2015 as a whole, the industry’s first annual decline since 2009.
The worsening in January was largely due to a drop in sales of steel and gold-and-steel watches, which were down 10.3 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively, in value terms. The month saw overall volumes drop by 300,000 units, with the categories of other metals and other materials falling sharply.
“All main price segments recorded significant declines,” the federation said in a statement.
Hong Kong, the number-one market for Swiss timepieces, suffered another calamitous month with a 33.1 percent drop, marking its twelfth consecutive month of steep declines. The United States recorded its fifth negative month with a 13.7 percent drop.
Sales to China were down 1.9 percent after two months of growth. However, Japan vaulted ahead with a 35.8 percent jump in sales, while the United Kingdom led a generally positive European market with a 10.3 percent gain.