Coronavirus-hit Swiss watch exports continue to plunge

Swiss watch exports plunged again in June, an industry body said on Tuesday, though there were early signs of a potential uptick thanks to renewed demand from China.

Coronavirus-hit Swiss watch exports continue to plunge
A window of a closed watch shop in Gstaad, Switzerland. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

In April, exports plummeted by an annualised 81.3 percent, and were followed in May by an impressive decline of 67.9 percent as global sales took a time out amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In June, exports were still off by 35.1 percent compared with June 2019, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said in a statement, at 1.1 billion Swiss francs (1.0 billion euros, $1.14 billion).

But, “as the first country to fall victim to the pandemic and therefore the first to recover, China saw a very sharp increase in demand for Swiss watches,” the statement noted.

In June, exports of Swiss watches to China were in fact 47.7 percent higher than during the same month a year earlier. The federation thus underscored “possible hints of the start of the expected recovery.”

Meanwhile, exports to Hong Kong, considered a gateway to Asian markets, fell by 54.6 percent in June, and were 57 percent lower to the United States.

The sector has been knocked for a loss not only because stores closed during virus-triggered lockdowns in many countries, but also owing to a drop in visits to major European capitals by high-spending Asian tourists.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

Switzerland’s tax deadline is just around the corner. Are Covid-related costs tax deductible?

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

March 31st is the deadline for filing taxes in Switzerland relating to the 2021 financial year. 

Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has seen a change in our spending habits. 

While we may have saved on restaurants and travel, we laid out considerable costs on a range of new expenses, including disinfectant, masks and Covid tests. 

As some of these costs are required by law, can they be deducted from your tax?

In some cases, expenses directly related to the Covid pandemic can be deducted. 

Masks, for instance, can be deducted as medical expenses in some cantons, Swiss tax specialist Markus Stoll told 20 Minutes

This depends on the specific framework for tax deductions related to medical expenses in that canton. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

Generally speaking, any medical costs paid out of pocket can be deducted. However, most cantons impose a minimum percentage limit from which these costs can be deducted. 

In many cantons, this will start at five percent of your yearly income in total (i.e. including other out-of-pocket costs like dental or specialist visits), meaning you would need to purchase a significant amount of masks to beat the threshold. 

What about testing and vaccination?

Testing and vaccinations however were largely free as their costs were covered by the Swiss government, which means associated expenses cannot be deducted. 

Those tests which were not covered by the government – for instance for travel abroad or for visiting clubs – cannot be deducted, Stoll says. 

“Tests for travel abroad or to visit clubs are not deductible” Stoll said. 

For a complete overview of taxation in Switzerland, including several specific guides, please check out our tax-specific page here.