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Swiss watch industry confirms global leadership and positive momentum
The recent BCV (Banque Cantonale Vaudoise) report “De l’or dans la montagne” confirms the health and strength of the Swiss watch industry and the key role of four cantons: Geneve, Vaud, Neuchatel and Jura. They deliver more than 70% of the value, an amount that reaches more the 90% when you include the cantons of Berne and Soleure.
Switzerland is confirmed as the global leader in terms of value of sales * with more than 20 billion CHF in 2011, but is far behind China and Hong Kong when it comes to the number of watches sold. In fact, in the same year, Switzerland represented only 2% of the global volume compared to the 90% of China and Hong Kong. This is because the Swiss industry is focussed in the premium tier, with an average price of 688 dollars. This price is well above that of the Asian competitors’, whose average is 2 dollars for China and 15 dollars for Hong Kong.
The even more positive data is related to the trend in sales: the watch industry is growing faster (4.5% a year between 1997-2012) than the rest of the Swiss economy (2% per year in the same period) despite the challenging economic scenario in the Euro zone, the limited global dynamism and the strength of the Swiss currency.
The key markets for Switzerland are Hong Kong, China and the US. These represent almost 40% of exports with clear growth coming from Asia: between 2001 and 2012, sales to Asia grew at an annual rate of around 10% compared to an average of 5% for the other markets.
In this context, the label “Swiss made” has become a strong asset to protect in order to preserve it as a synonym for quality. The “Swissness” project of the Helvetic Confederation aims to clarify and set rules and standards for its usage.
* measured as export price
Source: “De l’or dans la montagne” – étude de l’Observatoire BCVde l’économie vaudoise