A turbulent start of the year for the Swiss tech industry

A turbulent start of the year for the Swiss tech industry

(05.06.2024) The machinery, electrical equipment, and metals sector faced a turbulent first quarter in 2024. According to the umbrella organization Swissmem, exports and overall industry revenue declined by 8.5% and 5.4% respectively, compared to the same period last year.

This decline in activity was more pronounced in large companies than in SMEs within the sector. The capacity utilization rate dropped to its lowest level since the third quarter of 2021, reaching 85.5%. Additionally, orders decreased by 2.3% between the first quarter of 2023 and the same period in 2024.

Exports have significantly declined, mainly due to a drop in demand from the German market (-12%) – the most important market for this sector. Orders from the European Union (-11.6%) and the United States (-2.6%) also decreased. Only exports to India (+8.1%) and China (+7.1%) provided some relief.

All sectors were affected by this decline in foreign sales, including metallurgy (-9.3%), machinery manufacturing (-8.4%), precision instruments (-7.6%), and electrical/electronic engineering (-2.2%).

In a sector that depends on exports for 80% of its business, companies have moderate expectations: only 28% anticipate an increase in foreign orders over the next four quarters. However, compared to last year, fewer companies are expecting a decline in orders (37% in 2023).

Despite the risks posed to global trade by geopolitical tensions and the Sino-American trade war, Swissmem remains hopeful for a rebound before the end of 2024. The organization has observed an increase in orders, driven in part by the weakening of the Swiss franc against the euro and the dollar.


Last modification 05.06.2024

Top of page

News and useful information for founders and entrepreneurs.