Now there are more doubts, the global pandemic COVID-19 has had and will have a heavy impact on the haute horlogerie sector. As we had already noted in recent months, after two consecutive months of decline (-9% in February and -22% in March), Swiss Watch Federation (FHS) has just released its stats for April 2020 and, as expected, exports have dropped dramatically. Certainly a result also due to the blocking of production, distribution and sale, which saw shipments collapse well81.3%, or a loss of 328.8 million Swiss francs.
The value of Swiss watch exports had already decreased by 7.5% in the first quarter with a loss of CHF 4.749 million and for the second quarter, as announced, the decline was expected to accelerate. The same FHS he had foreseen "A probable worsening in April" when he released the statistics for March 2020.
And finally, here we are, with the brutal decline in exports. In a recent report, Bain & Company estimates that global sales of the luxury market in general are expected to drop from 20% to 35% in 2020, depending on the speed of recovery from the crisis and that a return to the levels of 2019 will not occur until 2022 or 2023.
But thankfully, business activities in mainland China are picking up and with global travel restrictions, Chinese customers tend to shop within the country instead of overseas.
The future of the luxury sector certainly depends on China's recovery. This was confirmed by the performance of Swiss watch exports, as China was the only country to reverse the trend in April, with a limited contraction of 16.1%, accounting for a third of watch exports for the month.