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Hong Kong Losing its Dominance as the World's Largest Watch Market

According to a monthly analysis released by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) last December, Switzerland’s watch exports to Hong Kong have dropped to single digit, down 50% compared with the figures 10 years ago.  Hong Kong is losing and also unlikely to regain its position as the largest foreign market for Swiss watches. 


Currently, the first three watch markets in sequence are the U.S., China and Hong Kong. “The United States (+44.2% compared with 2019) was the leading market last month as it was throughout the year, and recorded one of the highest increases in December. Growth in China (+9.1%) slowed, mainly due to a negative base effect, but remained strong. The recovery in Hong Kong (-15.5%) continued very timidly, however watch exports there again fell significantly for the third year running,”the monthly analysis concludes. 


In a news report “Hong Kong's Global Watch Dominance Comes to an End” by the New York Times last September, it says that the social unrest in 2019 and also border closures due to Covid-19 pandemic over the last 2 years caused an impact on tourist arrivals, Hong Kong ‘s watch and jewellery sales declined by half between 2018 and 2021. Hong Kong had the highest 20.4% market share in 2012, down to 9.6% last year, becoming the third largest export destination of Swiss watches and clocks.   


Main Markets for Swiss watch exports (market share): 

  1. USA (14.5%)
  2. China (12.1%)
  3. Hong Kong (9.6%)
  4. Singapore (5.8%)
  5. United Kingdom (5.5%)
  6. Japan (5.4%)


Main markets

Markets Mil. of CHF Change/2019 Share
USA 276.6 +44.2% 14.5%
China 230.5 +9.1% 12.1%
Hong Kong 183.7 -15.5% 9.6%
Singapore 111.7 +6.5% 5.8%
United Kingdom 104.3 +13.5% 5.5%
Japan 103.2 -2.8% 5.4%
Total 6 markets 1,010.1 +9.4% 52.9%

Source: Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry



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