How large is the market in Asia for Swiss watch brands?
Well, there is no doubting Asia’s importance as it is the biggest market for Swiss watch exporters, accounting for half of such exports in terms of value.
In 2015, the total value of Swiss watch exports worldwide was CHF21.5 billion, representing a decline of 3.3%, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH
The value of Swiss watch exports to Asia in 2015 was therefore around CHF10.8 billion.
Between January 2016 and May 2016, the total value of Swiss watch exports amounted to CHF7.83 billion, representing a decline of 9.5% as compared with the corresponding period in 2015 (January 2015 to May 2015).
With Asia’s 50% market share, its imports of Swiss watches totalled CHF3.92 billion.
Europe took up a third of the value of Swiss watch exports (CHF2.6 billion) while that of North America was around 12% (CHF934.1 million).
The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH breaks Asia down into three main regions, comprising the Middle East, Far East and “Other Asian countries”.
Which part of Asia contributed most to Swiss watch exports? The answer is the Far East, which accounted for CHF2.43 billion or around 31% of the total value of Swiss watch exports. ,
The Middle East provided CHF847.3 million or 10.8% of the total value and the balance of around CHF646.7 million or 8.3% was from other Asian countries.
Exactly what countries are classified as being in the “Far East” and the “Middle East”?
It may be deemed an archaic term and considered vague but the “Far East”, generally speaking, refers to East Asia. These include countries like China, eastern Russia, China, Japan, Korea and South-East Asia. India is part of South Asia.
Singapore is among the important Asian markets for Swiss watch brands and it is part of South-East Asia. This explains why many brands locate their boutiques in this market.
Such brands include Hublot, which has operated its boutique in Singapore since 2010 and Glashütte Original which officially launched its boutique in May 2016, its first boutique in South-East Asia.
The Middle East, once known as the Near East, refers to the lands around the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from Morocco to the Arabian Peninsula and Iran, and sometimes beyond, depending on certain definitions, as noted in the Encyclopaedia Brittanica.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the Middle East as an area of South-West Asia and northern Africa, stretching from the Mediterranean to Pakistan and including the Arabian Peninsula.
Middle Eastern countries generally include Cyprus, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey and Yemen.