Zurich: Switzerland’s watchmakers and other luxury goods makers are set for further growth in 2008 as strong demand in Asia, especially India and China and West Asia, offsets economic gloom in the US and Europe.
Swatch AG chairman Nick Hayek struck a bullish note in a weekend interview, telling the Finanz und Wirtschaft newspaper he expects the company’s sales to grow to about $9 billion (Rs35,640 crore).
“The boom in the watch industry has already lasted a long time and is set to continue over the coming year,” Hayek said.
Swatch posted sales of 5.9 billion Swiss francs (Rs23,099 crore) in 2007. Hayek did not specify when he expects the sales to reach the 10 billion Swiss franc mark.
The company’s Tourbillon, Blancpain, Breguet, Swatch and Omega brands recorded sales in the first half of January that were higher than the figure for the whole of the same month the previous year, he added.
New-found wealth and consumer demand in Asia and the West Asia should also prove a boon to luxury goods makers fearing a slump in other Western markets, analysts said.
“Growing prosperity, international tourism, the ‘democratisation’ of luxury and the need for social status” have all fuelled demand in recent years, Zuercher Kantonalbank analyst Patrik Schwendimann said.
“‘New markets in China, Russia, the Middle East and, eventually, India” will serve as the motors for growth in the future, he added.
Hayek also stressed these markets as Swatch’s latest priority, telling Finanz und Wirtschaft that “we will reinforce our role as Swiss luxury goods still sparkle thanks to Eastern promise”.