April 16, 2024

Haute Time Business Graphic

Such times have not been seen by the Swiss watchmakers in the last five years, when in July earlier this year, they recorded the biggest decline in watch exports since 2009. The cause of the poor results have largely been attributed to slowing down of the Asian markets, especially as Chinese travellers avoided Hong Kong due to the umbrella revolution and also stayed away from South Korea due to news of a life-threatening virus.

Figures disclosed by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, last week, brought to light the sharpest monthly slump since November 2009, showing exports down by 9.3 percent standing at 1.9 billion Swiss francs. In July of last year, sales of Swiss watches to China had actually increased by 49 percent, and in the same month of this year, sales to the country plummeted by 40 percent.

Since 2012, when China initiated the crackdown on big luxury-spenders, the Swiss Luxury Watch industry has seen significant declining export figures. And, more lately with China’s economic slowdown and souring view of emerging economies, global economies continued to plunge earlier this week, sending the stock markets into a tailspin by panicked investors.

The current world of psychological downturn shows real concern about the future of luxury timepieces, whose sales are clearly Asia-driven. This could further imperil fragile growth of the watch industry in Asia.

Innovation and invention are the need of the hour, not just in terms of products but in marketing too, in order to restore consumer-confidence in luxury timepieces as a form of investment for the future generations, and not only as a show-off piece. Today ‘return on investment’ being the premier word in the minds of the top-spenders in Asia, an already culturally astute area in money-matters.

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