Swiss-watch exports grew 5% in May amid stronger demand in greater China and the US.
Global shipments of Swiss timepieces came to $1.82 billion (CHF 1.8 billion) for the month, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported last week. Exports to Hong Kong leaped 26% year on year to $286.3 million (CHF 282.8 million), with shipments to China up 6% to $124.1 million (CHF 122.6 million) — a slower increase than April’s 11%. Supply to the US continued to grow, climbing 10% to $189.8 million (CHF 187.5 million) for the month.
“Growth has slackened slightly since the beginning of the year, while remaining at a very high level,” the federation noted. Exports advanced 10% in the first five months of 2018, with the sector recording double-digit year-on-year growth in January, February and April, and more modest increases in March and May.
May was a strong month for exports of watches containing steel and gold: Shipments of steel timepieces increased 8% to $708.6 million (CHF 700 million), while exports of watches made from both gold and steel rose 9% to $282.9 million (CHF 279.4 million). Supply of precious-metal watches crept up 1.8% to $595.5 million (CHF 588.2 million).
Mid-range watches — those with an export price of $506 to $3,037 (CHF 500 to CHF 3,000) — saw the sharpest rise, up 9% by value. Shipments of timepieces worth less than $202 (CHF 200) increased 8%, while those priced at $202 to $506 recorded a slight improvement of 0.3%. Exports of watches above $3,037 climbed 4.8%.