Swiss watch exports to China plunged for the second month in a row as the Covid-19
lockdowns battered demand.
Shipments to China slumped 65% in May, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said on Tuesday. Still, strong appetite for timepieces in the US and Europe offset that decline and helped total exports rise 14% to 2 billion Swiss francs.
The statistics underscore the Swiss watch industry’s rebound to record export levels by value from pandemic woes of 2020, when production was halted and retailers closed. The US in particular has been driving the recovery, having become the top destination for Swiss watches after seizing that position from China last year. The sector is also benefiting from a return of luxury collectors and well-heeled tourist shoppers.
US and European exports rose more than 30% as consumers returned to stores. In Asia, China’s weakness was offset by rising exports to Japan and Singapore.
Pricey timepieces valued at more than 3,000 francs continued to drive gains. Swiss watchmakers have been relying on selling fewer high-priced watches to fuel the recovery.