- Weak demand spreads across Europe, with drops in Italy, France
- Shipments to Hong Kong retreat 17%, a 16th month decline
Swiss watch exports dropped in May, bringing the industry’s slump close to a full year as the industry faced plunging demand across Asia and Europe.
Shipments fell 9.7 percent to 1.56 million Swiss francs ($1.62 million), the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said in a statement Tuesday. Exports have declined for the past 11 months, and had back-to-back monthly double-digit declines in March and April.
“The slowdown in Europe reflects the ongoing aftermath of the Paris and Brussels attacks, in form of a slower tourist flow in Europe, and perhaps concerns that Chinese are buying less in Europe based on taxes imposed on them when they return to home,” said Alessandro Migliorini, an analyst at Mirabaud Securities LLP. “It looks like it will be a worse year than 2015.”
Swiss watchmakers have been struggling with a wider slowdown in demand for timepieces across all of Switzerland’s main markets so far this year. Hublot and Zenith, owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, have decided not to open any additional stores in Hong Kong amid a market that’s “more adapted for closing stores rather than opening stores,” watch chief Jean-Claude Biver said on June 13.
Timepieces with wholesale prices of 200 francs to 500 francs suffered the most, followed by those costing 3,000 francs and up, both posting double-digit declines.