Swiss watches exports register biggest decline in 5 years

Luxury brands are feeling the pinch of the slowing Chinese economy with exports of Swiss WISwatches falling the most in more than five years.

Figures for last month revealed that exports of Swiss watches plunged 9.3 per cent year on year to £1.26 billion due to weakening demand from Chinese tourists shopping in Hong Kong and South Korea.

This was the steepest monthly drop since November 2009. Hong Kong, the largest Swiss watch export market, saw 28.7 per cent fewer people buying watches last month compared with last year, while shoppers in mainland China, the world’s second largest economy, bought nearly 40 per cent fewer.

Luca Solca, head of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas, said: ‘The peak of the “Chinese Wave” is behind us.’However, Laura Levy, luxury goods analyst at Barclays, said data revealed that demand from tourists shopping in Europe remained.’

Switzerland’s dominance in the making of expensive watches means its exports are used as a barometer for consumer confidence.

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