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Swiss replica watches exports fall most in six years: Demand dips in Hong Kong market

Replica Watches exports from Switzerland had the biggest decline in six years with October marking a 39 percent slump in shipments to Hong Kong, which is the biggest market for Swiss replica watches.

watchmaker
A watchmaker in the southwestern French city of Bordeaux adjusts his collection of clocks and replica watches before closing his workshop for the weekend.

Overall, watch shipments declined 12 percent to 2 billion Swiss francs (AU$2.78 billion), the Swiss customs office said in a statement. Watch exports to the US also declined 12 percent, reports 2013SwissWatches. Watch exports make a 10th of Switzerland’s total exports.

“Year 2015 has been one to forget for the watchmakers,” wrote Jon Cox, the analyst with Kepler Cheuvreux in Zurich.

On backfoot

It was around 2008 when Hong Kong became the largest market for Swiss replica watches, overtaking the US market. That lead is now waning after seven years. As demand dropped, many watch makers from Switzerland are trying to pull back from Hong Kong with replica TAG Heuer having shut a store in August.

Richemont, which makes Cartier jewelry and IWC timepieces, also reported falling sales over weak demand.

“Hong Kong’s share is likely going to remain somewhere above 10 percent in the medium-term after being over 20 percent a year ago,” analyst Cox said.

One more reason that affected the demand for Swiss replica watches is the competition from Apple’s smart watch. The US watchmaker Fossil group reported its stock having plumbed 37 percent and on Nov. 13 it forecast a decline in fourth-quarter sales by 16 percent as competition from wearable technology is affecting its sales.

Rising UK market

Meanwhile, there is room for cheer with the UK emerging as the world’s fastest growing market for Swiss watchmakers, according to statistics from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

According to data, in the 9 months from Jan to Sep 2015, exports of Swiss replica watches to the UK rose 20 percent compared to the same period in 2014. Britain has become the eighth largest market for the Swiss watch industry, reports Watch Pro.

The report said Chinese government’s anti-corruption drive had its impact on the luxury retail sector in Hong Kong, where exports fell and the exports to China also crashed 9.2 percent.