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11/02/10 - Swiss Chocolate Industry in 2009

Bittersweet Sales Results -

for Swiss Chocolate – at Home and Abroad

The Swiss chocolate industry can look back on 2009 as a difficult year all round. For the first time in six years, the Swiss chocolate manufacturers did not surpass a previous year's results and were forced to face decreases in terms of both quantity and value. The decline in sales compared to 2008 was spread equally across the domestic and export markets, more or less.

NS. During the course of 2009, the 18 Swiss chocolate manufacturers had to swallow losses for the first time in six years. In a year-on-year comparison, sales went down 5.9 % to 174,109 tonnes while turnover across the industry dropped by 6.4 % to reach CHF 1,702 million. The slightly disproportionate decline in sales turnover as opposed to the change in sales quantity indicates a shift in demand towards lower-priced products. Of total production, 60.7 % was sold abroad compared to 60.3 % in 2008.

The generally cautious mood of the consumers in Switzerland last year impacted negatively on the demand for chocolate products. Certainly, the relatively high temperatures in spring and the altogether above-average warm – if changeable – summer weather will have contributed to the decrease in sales. Moreover, a fall in the number of tourists also had a negative effect on the sale of chocolate products. Domestic sales of the Swiss manufacturers amounted to 68,375 tonnes, which was 6.9 % lower than the previous year. The best growth rates were achieved with small chocolate bars (up 3.0 %) and with seasonal Easter and Christmas articles (up 2.5 %). As for value, domestic sales dropped to CHF 870 million (down 2.7 %). The share of imported chocolate consumed on the home market rose to 33.6 %, compared to the previous year's figure of 30.9 %. Low-price import products played a decisive role in this increase. Given an annual domestic consumption of 91,330 tonnes of chocolate products – including imports but excluding cocoa and chocolate powder – that works out at an average consumption of 11.7 kg per capita, down 700 g on the foregoing year.

In 2009, then, compared to previous years, the Swiss chocolate industry was not able to grow its export business. This was due, on the one hand, to the lower purchasing power of the consumers in related markets; and, on the other hand, due to the continuing strength of the Swiss Franc. Foreign sales reached 105,734 tonnes, representing a decline of 5.2 %. The corresponding decline in terms of value was 9.9 %, coming to CHF 832 million. The sales of chocolate bars here showed a large decrease. The biggest increase among manufactured products was that of "Branchli" chocolate bars (up 28.0 %) and that of pralines (up 3.3 %). The industry also showed growth in the sales of semi-manufactured products such as coatings (up 10.8 %). Once more, Germany and its export share of 13.8 % led the over 140 export markets – ahead of the UK (12.8 %), France (10.8 %) and the USA (7.0 %). However, Swiss chocolate products suffered setbacks in the area of the European Union (EU) as a whole with a fall of 2.2 % in sales quantity and of 8.0 % in sales value. The main reason for this fall in demand can again be located in Germany, the most important export market for Swiss chocolate, which took 9.7 % less in chocolate deliveries compared to 2008. This translates into an overall loss in sales value of 13.0 %. Yet there was highly significant growth as regards deliveries to Belgium (up 31.1 % in quantity and 34.1 % in value). Meanwhile, outside the EU, the industry was able to notch up impressive sales increases in Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and China.

 

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