Another record year for Swiss watchmaking!

According to the 2023 statistics published today by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH), the 2023 financial year ended with a new export record for the Swiss watch industry, reaching 26.7 billion Swiss francs, an increase of +7.6% compared to 2022!

The first half of the year was particularly positive for watch exports, with an increase of +11.8% compared to +7.7% in the second half. That said, the year 2023 ended on a positive note with growth of 5.5% in December, the most marked increase in the second half-year.

The top end of the market (>CHF 3,000) continued to benefit from sustained demand from the luxury market, with an increase of +11.2% in the number of units exported, but the entry-level Swiss made segment (<CHF 200) also put in an excellent performance, with an increase of +9.4% in value. The mid-range segment (CHF 200-3,000) rose only slightly, with +1.9% of pieces exported.

According to announcements made by the Employers’ Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, the number of employees in this sector has followed this trend, rising by 7.7% in Switzerland in 2023, or more than 65,000 people.

In terms of volume by category, wristwatches will record an increase of 7.2% compared to 2022 to reach 16.9 million pieces exported, an additional 1.1 million.

As for markets, the American continent will continue to grow at +6.7%, receiving 19% of Swiss watch exports in 2023, mainly thanks to the United States (+7%). Europe (+6.8%) followed the same trend, with a share of 30%, while Asia (+8.2%) accounted for almost half (49%) of Swiss watch exports, with a strong recovery in Hong Kong (+23.4%) following the lifting of health restrictions. In the Middle East (+6.0%), the United Arab Emirates (+12.2%) outperformed, while Saudi Arabia (+2.6%) enjoyed more moderate growth.

In Europe, the trend was also favourable, with similar results in the main markets: +7.6% for the United Kingdom, +5.1% for Germany, +8.1% for France, +9.3% for Italy and +5.7% for Spain.

According to the FH, 2024 promises to be a relatively quieter year for the Swiss watchmaking industry, with results expected to remain at a high level or to increase slightly. This analysis needs to be weighed up against the specific dynamics of each brand. Some of them have expressed a degree of caution in their forecasts. Upstream of these finished products, subcontractors and suppliers are expecting a less favourable trend this year. Not to mention that the particularly high level of the Swiss franc will undoubtedly weigh on results, especially in the entry and mid-range segments.

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