Swiss watch executives worried about the future

Rob Bates

Leading execs voiced fears about the Swiss franc, the gray market, and counterfeits.

Eighty-two percent of Swiss watch executives forecast a gloomy outlook for their business, according to the 2016 Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry study.

In 2015, just 41 percent—half of this year’s number—voiced concerns about the future.

Weak foreign demand” was perceived as the greatest risk, followed by the strength of the Swiss franc and weak domestic demand.

Swiss watch exports have fallen for the last 13 months, and most executives expect the declines to continue. Still, 22 percent of watch execs cited the United States as a possible growth market, up from 13 percent in 2015. Some see the United States soon becoming the leading watch export market.

For the first time since the survey debuted in 2012, counterfeiting ranked among the top five perceived risks. Online is making distribution of fake timepieces easier, the survey says.

The gray market has also turned into a significant problem: More than 50 percent of executives (an increase of 18 points from last year) consider it a significant reputational risk.

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Source JCK Online