3, 2, 1… we declare Baselworld 2017 opened. The international Watch fair starts with the traditional Press conference. After a 2016 business year quite tough for the Swiss watch industry, Everybody expects to see a better incoming year. Swiss Watch brands are ready to take the challenge. Facing all difficulties there is only one answer: Innovate, Create and be brave.
2016, a battlefield with severe losses
The environment confronting the Swiss watch industry remained dif cult throughout the year 2016. Swiss watch industry exports fell for the second year in succession. Their value stood at 19.4 billion francs, 9.9% lower than in 2015. With this result, the industry has returned to its 2011 level and seen an end to the growth of 15% achieved between 2011 and 2014. Here are some key interesting charts with details of how 2016 concluded.
Representing two-thirds of export sales, watches priced at over 3,000 francs (export price) accounted for some 80% of the annual decline, with -11.6% in value. The 500 to 3,000 francs segment (-3.9%) showed a reduction that was three times less subs- tantial. In units terms, watches costing less than 200 francs set the tone (-11.3%), with 2.1 million fewer timepieces sold than in 2015. Almost three-quarters of the decline were attribu- table to watches in precious metal (-18.5%). Steel timepieces were less affected because their value was down by just 3.3%. On the other hand, in terms of units, steel products (-7.8%) contributed to a substantial overall reduction. The Other materials (-9.5%) and Other metals (-17.2%) categories also penalized the result. Watch industry imports declined on all the main markets in 2016. Activity in Hong Kong was subs- tantially lower with a fall of 12.8% (excluding foreign exchange effects). Its imports, three-quarters of which consisted of watches, stood at 8.3 billion dollars. This trend explains the decline in exports of goods in transit. The United States suffered a comparable reduction of imports (-11.8 % at 5.0 billion dollars), re ecting the challenging situation experienced by this mar- ket in terms of sales in 2016.
Switzerland reduced its procurement from other countries signi cantly with a 4.4% decline in the total value of its watch imports. It took a substantial share of the global traf c with 3.9 billion dollars. Among the main markets China reported the most moderate downturn (-1.6% in local currency), while Japan saw a big reduction of its watch imports (-13.6%).
2017 Baselworld Press conference
Baselworld has developed year after year the leadership marketplace for Swiss watch industry. There are strong roots and Baselworld has shined for decades allowing Swiss watchmaking to connect to the world and bring the Swiss industry to shine. Madame Ritter reviews 100 years of history and show the gratitude to exhibitors and journalists for their presence and their loyalty. They all make Baselworld a great place to be. It’s been one century that Swiss watch makers had presented their best creative work. Three key dates:
- 1917 – First watch fair at Baselworld with Swiss watch makers.
- 1923 – The fair is destroyed by the fire and decision is taken to rebuild the fair with a strong vision.
- 1973 – Opened to European exhibitors and rename of the fair – “Foire Europééne de l’horlogerie et de la Bijouterie”
Baselworld is just starting and being my first time here, we feel honored to see so many talents gathered for several days in the nice city of Basel.
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