Is the Apple Watch to blame?
Swiss watch exports to the United States fell 17 percent in September, their sharpest decline in five years.
Despite this, the Federation for the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS), which compiled the statistics, said the overall trend in the United States remains positive, as it has since 2013. In August, exports to the United States grew 11.5 percent.
The tech press was quick to blame—or perhaps credit—the Apple Watch for the drop, especially since the fall was heaviest in the low end, particularly the 200–500 Swiss Franc price range. That category’s sales fell 18.3 percent in unit terms and 14.5 percent by value.
However, the FHS seemed more concerned about the economic weakness in Asia, especially in Hong Kong, the leading market for watches, where exports plunged 18.2 percent. The drop in demand seemed to be spreading to other so far unaffected Asian markets, such as Singapore and Taiwan, the group added.
Overall watch exports fell 7.9 percent in September compared to the prior year. This is third month this year to show a decline.