Asian consumers 'boosting demand for Swiss watches'

First published: 13-12-2011

The demand for Swiss watches among people from China and the far east looks set to grow as a trend has been seen for people visiting the nation to take the opportunity to snap up fine timepieces.

China has long been a big consumer of luxury watches and in particular Swiss-made timepieces have historically sold very well.

However, in recent times, this demand has grown further, with some companies reporting a huge rise in sales of their products among Chinese shoppers who have travelled to the country.

While less people travel to Switzerland from other European nations, the Wall Street Journal noted the numbers - and the spending power - of people from the far east is remaining strong as these economies are not as sensitive to the strength of the franc.

In total, the numbers visiting from China rose by 68 per cent this year, compared with 2010.

Watch maker Piaget stated that around half of all its sales in the country now come from Asian tourists.

Sylvain Auroux, Piaget's director for Switzerland, told the newspaper these shoppers are becoming more important for the brand.

"Asian tourists have come thousands of miles and are less sensitive to the franc. For them Switzerland is the home of watch manufacture, and they want to buy here. It is part of the trip, like buying nice clothes in Paris or leather items in Italy," she explained.

As a result of these sales, the company is expecting its sales figures to have grown by 25 per cent over the last year.

A drive for customers looking to get the best quality watches they can afford has been seen across the luxury sector, with Andrew Morton, managing director of Advalorem, recently telling Retail Jeweller this has resulted in a shift to more classic and timeless styles becoming popular. 

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