Swiss watch exports are returning to pre-pandemic levels after their biggest annual slump since the financial crisis, boosted by demand in China and the US.
Shipments rose 2 percent to 1.8 billion francs ($2 billion) in April compared with the same month in 2019, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Exports started to recover in March.
Swiss watch exports fell 22 percent in 2020 as tourism ground to a halt and lockdowns shuttered stores. The next two months will be decisive in confirming the trend of recovery, the federation said in a statement. So far, the cumulative start to 2021 is identical to the performance two years ago, it added.
Swatch Group AG chief executive officer Nick Hayek this month said he expects a “massive increase” in demand if people are able to travel again this summer and as stores open across Europe. Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert took a more cautious stance last week, saying volatility and low visibility will likely remain until there is herd immunity against Covid-19.
By Corinne Gretler