Watches and jewellery: French industry weakened despite resilient demand

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Francéclat, the Professional Committee for Economic Development serving the watch, jewellery, goldsmith and tableware sectors, has just published its annual report. Conclusion ? Inevitably low figures for the French watch and jewellery sector, but certainly not because of the lack of customers.

 

The Francéclat Observatory has analysed the 2020 figures for the watch and jewellery industry and described it as “a sector in shock but resilient”.

 

“The picture is inevitably gloomier as far as 2020 is concerned. But it is not totally black, with an undeniable agility of a part of the industry, driven to export by the dynamism of the Chinese market mainly, and with the dynamism of sales on the French market at each exit from confinement, despite the absence of international tourists”. The committee stresses.

 

Sales of watches and jewellery fell by 14% in 2020 with a turnover of 4.8 billion euros.

 

The year before the pandemic, the sector had nevertheless known glorious years with, in particular, a 21% increase in sales in 2019. In 2020, a 5% drop hit French watch, clock and jewellery production with a turnover of 2.8 billion euros. 

 

More specifically, sales fell by 22% to 271 million euros for watches.

 

The decline for watch manufacturers was 12%, which is less significant than for component manufacturers, who recorded a significant drop (-25%), insofar as “they depend mainly on orders from the large Swiss groups, which experienced a very difficult year in 2020 (one third fewer Swiss exports in terms of the number of watches)”.

 

As far as jewellery is concerned, it fell by only 2% to 2.246 billion euros. Jewellery manufacturing was almost stable (- 1%) while costume jewellery production fell sharply (- 12% to 275 million euros).

 

These declines are massively due to the absence of foreign customers, blocked by health restrictions, the closure of shops for 3 months, and the net decline in exports and imports.

 

Indeed, exports and re-exports suffered a drop of 37% (6.4 billion euros over 12 months at the end of November) due to the fall in international tourism and the cancellation of numerous sales generating events.

 

Imports fell by 41% (5.8 billion euros), “the balance of trade, which became surplus for the first time in 2018, continued to grow, our coverage rate reaching 111% this year”.

 

Then, even if online sales jumped by 27%, in particular thanks to certain products such as watches for less than 1,000 euros, Internet sites were not enough to make up for the lack of physical shops.

 

“They didn’t even make up for 3% of what we lost,” explained Mr. Lapipe, Managing Director of Société 5, which is contributing to the report.

 

On the other hand, it could be noticed that despite the pandemic situation, the desire of consumers did not disappear and when each time the shops reopened, the customers were present, which allowed sales to grow in double figures.

 

Indeed, the month of December even posted its strongest growth since 2011, with a 12% increase in sales compared with the same period in 2019.

 

“There is no crisis in consumer demand, it remains strong, which was not obvious given the context”, analyses Mr. Lapipe.

 

“In one of my shops, I had a 62% increase in December, I had never made such a turnover”. said Éric Cheminade, owner of six jewellers in France and president of the Union de la bijouterie-horlogerie.

 

Sales of diamond jewellery and watches at over 1,000 euros were relatively stable. Consumers have even turned to luxury jewellery and watches, preferring top-of-the-range to costume jewellery, for “a beautiful piece of jewellery that you can keep for a lifetime” according to Mr Lapipe.

 

One category is an exception: that of 750 thousandths gold wedding rings, the flagship jewels of the wedding industry, which have seen their sales decline by 32%. Results parallel those of the number of weddings, down 34% over the year according to INSEE.

 

A future that is not catastrophic but nonetheless worrying, Mr. Lapipe believes that “in reality it’s a huge shock, because the shops that are closed account for more than half of the retail sales of the watch and jewellery industry, the bulk of the market is at a standstill”. The new building is a reaction to the closure of non-food shopping centres of more than 20,000 m2.

Read also > THE JEWELLERY MARKET METAMORPHOSES IN 2021

 

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Francéclat, the Professional Committee for Economic Development serving the watch, jewellery, goldsmith and tableware sectors, has just published its annual report. Conclusion ? Inevitably low figures for the French watch and jewellery sector, but certainly not because of the lack of customers.

 

The Francéclat Observatory has analysed the 2020 figures for the watch and jewellery industry and described it as “a sector in shock but resilient”.

 

“The picture is inevitably gloomier as far as 2020 is concerned. But it is not totally black, with an undeniable agility of a part of the industry, driven to export by the dynamism of the Chinese market mainly, and with the dynamism of sales on the French market at each exit from confinement, despite the absence of international tourists”. The committee stresses.

 

Sales of watches and jewellery fell by 14% in 2020 with a turnover of 4.8 billion euros.

 

The year before the pandemic, the sector had nevertheless known glorious years with, in particular, a 21% increase in sales in 2019. In 2020, a 5% drop hit French watch, clock and jewellery production with a turnover of 2.8 billion euros. 

 

More specifically, sales fell by 22% to 271 million euros for watches.

 

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Francéclat, the Professional Committee for Economic Development serving the watch, jewellery, goldsmith and tableware sectors, has just published its annual report. Conclusion ? Inevitably low figures for the French watch and jewellery sector, but certainly not because of the lack of customers.

 

The Francéclat Observatory has analysed the 2020 figures for the watch and jewellery industry and described it as “a sector in shock but resilient”.

 

“The picture is inevitably gloomier as far as 2020 is concerned. But it is not totally black, with an undeniable agility of a part of the industry, driven to export by the dynamism of the Chinese market mainly, and with the dynamism of sales on the French market at each exit from confinement, despite the absence of international tourists”. The committee stresses.

 

Sales of watches and jewellery fell by 14% in 2020 with a turnover of 4.8 billion euros.

 

The year before the pandemic, the sector had nevertheless known glorious years with, in particular, a 21% increase in sales in 2019. In 2020, a 5% drop hit French watch, clock and jewellery production with a turnover of 2.8 billion euros. 

 

More specifically, sales fell by 22% to 271 million euros for watches.

 

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The editorial team
The editorial team
Thanks to its extensive knowledge of these sectors, the Luxus + editorial team deciphers for its readers the main economic and technological stakes in fashion, watchmaking, jewelry, gastronomy, perfumes and cosmetics, hotels, and prestigious real estate.

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