UAE Ranks First Among Arab Countries and Tenth Globally in Importing Luxury Swiss Watches

Growing Number of Elite Tourists and Re-Exportation Results in High Demand for Swiss Watches

Dubai, UAE: March 27, 2019: The UAE has ranked first among Arab countries and regionally, and tenth globally, on the list of countries importing luxury Swiss watches in 2018.

The volume of UAE imports amounted to Swiss francs* 910.4 million (AED3.36 billion), with an annual growth rate of 1.7% compared to 2017.

This impressive ranking appears in the recently released annual report issued by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS).

According to the report, Hong Kong topped the list and was ranked first globally, in terms of volume of imports, which amounted to Swiss francs 3001.4 billion, with a growth rate of 19.1% compared to 2017.

The United States came in second place globally, in terms of the value of imports, which amounted to Swiss francs 2,216 billion, achieving a growth rate of 8.2%. Meanwhile, China made a leap to third place, registering a growth rate of 11.7%, followed by Japan and the United Kingdom in fourth and fifth place respectively.

The UAE was the only Arab country that was listed among the top ten countries importing Swiss watches, while Saudi Arabia ranked 13th, with imports amounting to Swiss francs 344.4 million and a growth rate of 5.9% from the previous year.

Mohammed Baida, an economist at ‘CONTENT PLUS’, the reputed Dubai-based media consultancy, said: “The growth in demand for Swiss watches in the UAE is primarily due to the growing number of tourists visiting the UAE annually, especially the class of elite tourists visiting the country from China and Russia, who are looking for high-quality Swiss watch brands, and who show appreciation towards the Swiss watches’ artistic value and technical qualities.

“The demand is also due to the increased activity of transit trade and re-exports from the UAE to surrounding countries in the GCC region,” Baida added.

The leading Swiss watchmaking companies have maintained their strong presence in the UAE market through exclusive agents of various Swiss watch brands, through their direct presence in major watch and jewelry exhibitions that are held in the country, as well as through the opening of their own mono-brand boutiques in major shopping malls across the UAE, especially in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Exports of luxury Swiss watches saw growth during the year 2018, amounting to Swiss francs 21 billion, registering an annual growth rate of 6.3% when compared to 2017, and surpassing the years of crisis that befell them in the years 2015 and 2016. Finally, experts expect this growth to continue in the current year of 2019.


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* 1 Swiss franc = US$1.01 = AED 3.7