Swiss watchmaking slows down in July 2023

After months of growth, Swiss watch exports slowed in July 2023, reveals the Swiss Watch Federation.

Eva Morletto

By Eva Morletto23 août 2023

July saw a slight downturn: compared to the same month the previous year, exports were down by -0.9%, totalling 2.9 billion euros. (Watches & Wonders. KEYSTONE/Cyril Zingaro)

While the first half of 2023 showed very positive figures and a dynamic market, July saw a slight downturn: compared to the same month the previous year, exports were down by -0.9%, totalling 2.9 billion euros.

Several factors may explain this slowdown: the Federation points to a drop in demand for steel watches (their exports fell by -6.1%) and a market that is no longer growing in China and Singapore, two significant centres for the sector, China being the world's second-largest market for Swiss watches. The Asian zone even recorded a substantial decline of -16.6% in July.

While Singapore posted a decline of -7.1%, France and Italy also fell significantly, with -14.2% and -9.7% respectively.

These results were partly offset by positive figures posted in other regions: the United States grew by +5.2%, despite an unfavourable economic climate for other sectors such as fashion, and Japan increased its watch imports by +5.5%.

In Europe, the UK led the way with a 5.6% increase in demand for Swiss watches.

This situation contrasts sharply with the trend in the first half of 2023 when exports rose by +11.8% to 13.8 billion euros. And unlike July, China was the driving force behind this positive momentum (+28.8%).

July was a particularly negative month for Swiss exports overall. The statistics published on 22 August by the Federal Customs Office show a drop in exports of -5.7% for all products combined, the lowest level recorded since the start of the year.

Well before the publication of the July results, the luxury goods group Richemont (owner of the Cartier, Piaget and Jaeger-LeCoultre brands, among others) had already warned of a possible decline in sales due to the recessionary trends in the US market, which are having a global impact on markets.

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