Wristwatches by price categories, March 2020
Swiss watch export data for March -21% year over year (wristwatches)
March exports decreased by -21.1% on a reported basis and by -25.4% adjusting for number of working days (February was -8.7% on reported and adjusted basis). The comp base was 3ppt tougher on a reported and adjusted basis. March data shows a significant sequential deceleration, not surprising given the virus outbreak worldwide. April data is likely to show further downside, as retailers need to de-stock amid store closures and several Swiss watch manufacturing plants being shut down will add further pressure. By region, Hong Kong fell -41.3% (February -42.0%, comps 6ppt tougher) while Mainland China interestingly grew +10.5% (February -51.5%, comps 2ppt tougher) pointing to early signs of recovery in the country. In Europe, France declined -48.0% (February +12.6%, comps 1ppt tougher) with Italy -57.6% (February +5.0%, comps 8ppt easier). North America however was still resilient in March growing +20.9% (February +17.8%, comps 13ppt tougher) given the later spread of the outbreak. All price segments were declining, the best performing being the CHF3,000+ segment, down "only" -12.9% in value (February -1.3%, comps 6ppt tougher). By material, the best performer was the gold-steel segment at +0.7% in March (February -5.1%, comps 1ppt tougher).