Slump in Global watch exports casts shadow over Baselworld

22 Mar, 2017

The 100th Edition of the Baselworld 2017 commenced today on the back of the continuous drop in Global exports of Swiss watches, and a decline in the number of exhibitors from 1500 in 2016 to 1300 this year.
Ms. Sylvie Ritter, Managing director Baselworld said “have been difficult and have compelled some players to leave the watch and jewellery industry. Baselworld transformed to reflect the global market.”  She pointed out that “this process of transformation will always have to favour quality over quantity. The result being that we chose to refuse some exhibitors for this year’s show”.
Global exports of Swiss watches have shrunk in recent years. But exhibitors and traders at the world's largest fair of the watch-making industry, the Baselworld, are confident the hard times will be over soon.
Global exports of Swiss watches slid by 10 percent in February year on year to $1.5 billion (1.4 billion Euros). Shipments to Hong Kong, the biggest market for Swiss watches, slumped by 12.1 percent last month, and exports to the US as the second-biggest market even plunged by 26.2 percent.
Most European markets also fell. Only shipments to China rose by 6.7 percent in February on the year as Chinese consumers' thirst for luxury goods appeared strong despite the market suffering a severe hit when Beijing started cracking down on corruption by banning extravagant gifts like expensive watches to public officials.
Mr. François Thiebaud, President of the Swiss Exhibitors Committee commented on the results of the Swiss watch exports, and reminded that in terms of value the Swiss Watch industry remains the World’s largest exporter. He noted that the last quarter of 2016   saw a light of improvement and recalled that the political and economical context remained difficult and that watch exports had also been penalized by the valuation of the Swiss Franc.
Mr. Eric Bertrand, President of the Exhibitors addressed the current economic and geopolitical situation and is of the opinion that these times offer an opportunity for those who have done their job properly in the recent years and have a solid foundation on the market.
Mr. Bertrand is confident that when the industry recovery happens the best-armed players will gain market share and be more successful than ever”.
The Baselworld offered this year the independent watchmaker, previously in the “Palace” a space of choice in Hall1 that also has now another novelty called the “Design Lab” dedicated to designers, mainly jewellery, featuring unique innovative pieces and avant-garde creations.