Swiss watch sales in China soared 49% in July

In the early morning of August 22, Beijing time, the Swiss Watch Industry Federation announced on Thursday that the Swiss exports of Swiss watches increased by 49% in July, indicating that the Chinese government’s measures to combat extravagance and waste caused luxury sales. After the heavy losses, this market is experiencing rapid growth.

According to the report of the Swiss Watch Industry Federation, the export value of Swiss watches in July was 169 million Swiss francs ($185.14 million), far better than the 1.314 Swiss francs in the same period last year, the biggest increase in the past 30 months.

After the Chinese government launched anti-luxury waste measures aimed at combating bribery and corruption among officials in 2013, sales of luxury goods in China, especially high-end products, were once hit hard. A large number of wine merchants have issued profit warnings, and Swiss watch exports also saw a 12% year-on-year decline in 2013.

The July sales data marks a major reversal of the Swiss watch industry represented by famous brands such as Patek Philippe and Hengbao. Some analysts pointed out that the watch is the first category of luxury goods that the Chinese government has hit after launching a special strike, so it is now the first area to begin recovery.

Rahul Sharma, managing director of Neev Capital, said, “Watches are a classic object for bribery or gift giving. Retailers need a lot of inventory, so when the industry recovers, you will see faster. The rebound, so retailers will need more stocking, and demand will improve."

Asia has been the largest market for Swiss watch exports, accounting for 55% of July's exports. However, the import of Swiss watches in Hong Kong, China, fell 1.8% year-on-year in July. European Swiss watch imports also fell by 6.9% in July. Countries such as Germany, Italy and France, where economic growth is sluggish, have slowed imports.

Although the Swiss sales of Swiss watches have clearly recovered, some analysts have warned that this does not mean a full recovery in the luxury sector. Winston Chesterfield, assistant director of Ledbury Research, said, "I want to be careful to point out that the recovery of luxury goods and the market conditions of watches are different. When you buy watches, people think of Buy a piece of jewellery, which has precious metals, which can be preserved. This is not the same thing as handbags and clothes."

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