Swiss watch exports in January to the United States dropped 30.2% in volume (to 205,000 units) and 22.2% in value (to about $59.5 million).
That continued the decline begun in 2001 when exports to the United States, the largest market for Swiss watches, dropped 14.1% in value (to $932.8 million) and 16.6% in volume (almost 3.3 million). While the Sept. 11 tragedy had an impact, watch sales to the U.S. market were already affected by the slowing economy and had been “falling since March,” says Jean-Daniel Pasche, director of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.
Speaking to JCK about the January results, Pasche noted “we had uninterrupted increases [in the United States] for many years [and] remain confident in this market’s future.” Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan’s recent comments that the U.S. economy is coming out of recession were “especially interesting,” he said. “We expect the Swiss industry will profit from this in the second half of this year.”