PARIS — Fueled by high demand in Hong Kong, Swiss watch sales resumed a strong growth trajectory in April with a 13.8 percent rise, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said Tuesday.
Foreign sales of Swiss watches were 1.8 billion Swiss francs, or $1.8 billion dollars, led by robust growth in Asia.
The pace of foreign sales of Swiss watches had slowed down in March after brisk increases of nearly 13 percent in both January and February.
Sales to Hong Kong, the industry’s most important market, jumped 43.4 percent, the highest monthly rate in six years, to reach 260 million Swiss francs.
Sales in China, which the Federation tallies separately from Hong Kong, slowed compared with previous quarters and advanced 11 percent, while Japan continued to mark its recovery with a 9.1 percent rise.
The U.S. market posted growth of 12.8 percent to 176 million Swiss francs, the second-largest market for Swiss watches.
April’s figures showed “sustained growth,” said Luca Solca, an analyst with Exane BNP Paribas in a note to clients.
Growth was helped by an easy comparison base. Solca cited a 5 percent decline in April the year before, as well as two additional working days in April this year.
Adjusting for the extra working days, the growth would be around 5 percent, Solca estimated.
Exports to Germany gained 12.8 percent, while France and Italy posted slower growth, up 5.3 percent and 2 percent, respectively. The U.K., however, registered a 14.7 percent decline, with the Federation noting a situation that has “deteriorated sharply in the past three months.”
Steel watches grew the fastest, up 16.9 percent in terms of value, outpacing timepieces made from precious metals, which grew 12.6 percent, while gold and steel watches grew 9.2 percent.
In terms of value, the fastest growth came from watches priced in the range of 500 and 3,000 Swiss francs, rising 15.7 percent. The next fastest-growing price range was timepieces above 3,000 Swiss francs, which were up 14.5 percent.
In the lower price ranges, watches sold for 500 Swiss francs and below rose 7.9 percent.
Swiss watch exports are closely eyed for clues about the health of the broader luxury sector.