Recognized as Switzerland by most people, the Swiss Confederation is a landlocked, mountainous country strategically located at the confluence of Europe’s western, central and southern regions.
Switzerland shares land borders with Austria and Liechtenstein to its east, Germany to its north, France to its west, and Italy to its south.
While Switzerland does benefit from international trade relationships with its European neighbors, Switzerland is not part of the 27-member European Union.
Switzerland is home to 8.6 million residents according to the International Monetary Fund.
Among Switzerland’s national languages, German and French are the most popular. Two other official languages, Italian and Romansh, account for a combined 9% of Swiss people who communicate using those languages. In comparison, over 5% of the Swiss population speak English.
Switzerland is the world’s 35th richest economy in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on a Purchasing Power Parity basis, generating US$660.9 billion worth of products and services as of April 2021.
Switzerland’s demand for imported goods represents a subtotal US$195.3 billion worth of Swiss spending on the 100 most valuable consumer products imported into the European hub.
That consumer-driven dollar amount is roughly two-thirds (67.1%) of the overall value of all goods imported into Switzerland. Overall spending on all Swiss imports, including raw materials, intermediate products and semi-finished goods, totaled $291 billion in 2020.
Among Switzerland’s most valuable consumer products in 2020 are: gold; medications; cars; jewelry; and computers.
Spending on all of Switzerland’s imported goods rose by 5% from 2019 to 2020. Switzerland’s purchases focused on its top 100 consumer imports posted a stronger 10.7% increase over the latest annual period.
The acceleration in Swiss spending for key imported consumer products outpaced the global average from 2019 to 2020, which was an average drop of -8.2% for all importing countries around the world.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by Switzerland, 58 increased in total value from 2019 to 2020 whereas 42 declined.
Changes in Swiss consumer demand for essential imports offer future opportunities for international suppliers who correctly anticipate which upward or downward trends will continue.
Consumer Products Defined
Economics educator BoyceWire defines a consumer product as a final good or end product that a business creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while imported crude oil is an intermediate good subject to further processing before being sold to end users.
Although there may be a few wealthy individual buyers, products like turbojets are excluded from the consumer products targeted by this study. That is because turbojets are usually purchased by corporations. In contrast, it is common for a consumer to buy a motorcycle.
Types of Consumer Products
This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types.
Convenience Products are easy to access, non-durable, have relatively lower prices and therefore consumers frequently purchase them. Examples of convenience products are food, alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and soap.
Shopping Products are not as easily available, involve more time to make a buying decision, are durable and are not bought as often as most convenience products. A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying the wrong model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a disappointing loaf of bread.
Specialty Products describe another consumer product type. This grey area includes infrequently purchased, expensive, durable and sometimes rare items. Consumers may consider the product’s brand image when making their purchase decisions. Some examples of speciality products are gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, and branded refrigerators and dishwashers.
Switzerland’s Consumer Imports Smart List
The searchable marketing intelligence table below showcases Switzerland’s 100 highest-value imported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.
The table’s fourth column is labeled YOY for year over year. The fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.
|5||Computers, optical readers||$3,452,448,000||+3.5%||SP|
|7||Processed petroleum oils||$2,624,615,000||-49%||CP|
|11||Hand-drawn paintings, drawings||$1,253,310,000||-21.7%||SY|
|15||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$1,168,981,000||-4.4%||SP|
|17||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$1,128,939,000||+5.3%||SP|
|18||Wrist/pocket watches (precious case)||$1,119,100,000||-26.8%||SP|
|19||Cases, handbags, wallets||$1,099,275,000||-8.4%||SP|
|20||Miscellaneous textile items||$1,097,264,000||+466.8%||SP|
|21||Miscellaneous plastic items||$1,042,313,000||+4.1%||CP|
|22||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$1,014,173,000||+3%||SP|
|23||Men's suits (unknit/non-crochet)||$1,012,453,000||+1.6%||SP|
|24||Electrical converters/power units||$979,387,000||+3.8%||SP|
|27||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$854,002,000||-0.5%||CP|
|28||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$853,050,000||-3.5%||SP|
|32||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$700,374,000||-0.3%||SY|
|33||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$683,210,000||+4.3%||SP|
|35||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$671,893,000||-5.4%||SP|
|36||Coins including legal tender||$671,587,000||+8.1%||SY|
|37||Rubber tires (new)||$655,864,000||+2.7%||SP|
|40||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$637,115,000||+7.5%||SP|
|42||Dishwash, clean/dry/fill machines||$590,649,000||+3.1%||SY|
|43||Other printed pictures, photos||$578,110,000||-25.4%||SY|
|44||Other food preparations||$573,918,000||+13.8%||CP|
|45||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$537,676,000||+11%||CP|
|47||Women's coats (unknit/non-crochet)||$524,720,000||-2%||SP|
|48||Special hand/machine tools||$501,140,000||-10%||SY|
|49||Wrist/pocket watches (regular case)||$499,285,000||-8.9%||SP|
|50||Printed books, brochures||$496,201,000||-0.4%||SP|
|54||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$463,244,000||-5.1%||SP|
|55||Miscellaneous watch straps, bands||$463,214,000||-32.8%||SP|
|58||Unrecorded sound media||$400,239,000||-5.8%||SP|
|60||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$392,789,000||+9.2%||SP|
|61||Other organic cleaning preparations||$382,530,000||+9.1%||CP|
|62||Electric storage batteries||$382,530,000||+13.5%||SY|
|64||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$356,922,000||+0.8%||SP|
|66||Waters with added sugar||$336,028,000||+16.1%||CP|
|67||Computer parts, accessories||$333,074,000||-6.3%||SP|
|69||Original sculptures, statues||$331,050,000||-34.3%||SY|
|70||Household base metal mountings||$324,661,000||-0.6%||SY|
|74||Felt, other non-woven garments||$312,597,000||+70.3%||SP|
|76||Medication mixes not dosed||$308,641,000||+36.5%||CP|
|77||Other fresh/chilled vegetables||$300,827,000||+14.4%||CP|
|78||Vulcanized rubber items||$299,974,000||+3%||SP|
|79||Miscellaneous clock or watch parts||$295,467,000||-21.5%||SP|
|80||Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)||$290,189,000||-9.8%||SP|
|81||Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools||$283,283,000||-14.4%||SY|
|82||Miscellaneous live plants||$276,407,000||+6.9%||CP|
|83||Miscellaneous aluminum items||$272,064,000||-5.9%||SP|
|84||Chocolate, cocoa preparations||$269,745,000||+4.9%||CP|
|85||Tissues, napkins, toilet paper||$260,666,000||+2.7%||CP|
|86||Fresh or dried citrus fruit||$243,899,000||+24.6%||CP|
|87||Video console games, table games||$239,305,000||+18.2%||SP|
|89||Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)||$237,569,000||+15.7%||CP|
|90||Men's coats (unknit/non-crochet)||$236,860,000||-0.8%||SP|
|91||Fish fillets, pieces||$234,734,000||+0.1%||CP|
|94||Glass bottles, other containers||$218,431,000||+11.9%||SP|
|95||Uncoated paper for writing/printing||$213,227,000||-13.4%||CP|
|96||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$210,814,000||+6%||CP|
|97||Other pharmaceutical goods||$205,913,000||-1.8%||SP|
|98||Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles||$204,465,000||+17.1%||SP|
|99||Sauces, mixed condiment/seasoning||$203,089,000||+18.7%||CP|
|100||Perfumes, toilet waters||$200,526,000||-6.7%||CP|
Totaling 54 items, Switzerland’s most popular product type is shopping products (SP). This cohort was led by imported cars; computers; phone devices including smartphones; miscellaneous furniture; orthopedic appliances; trucks; and automobile parts or accessories.
In second place via 25 items are convenience products (CP), articles that are bought routinely, used only once and generally require less thinking time before making a buying decision. Popular examples include medications; processed petroleum oils; wine; miscellaneous plastic items; and coffee.
Another 21 speciality products (SY) ranking among Switzerland’s top 100 imported consumer goods. Major speciality products imported into Switzerland include jewelry; unset diamonds; and hand-drawn paintings or drawings.
Durable consumer products are goods like cars, trucks, printing machinery, insulated wire or cable, and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. By product type, note that both shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer goods.
Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Coal, medications, sugar and corn are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.
Based on the product types identified in the above table, 75 of Switzerland’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 25 are classified as non-durable.
Using the provided table, you can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2019 to 2020. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into Switzerland that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2019 to 2020.
- Miscellaneous textile items: Up 466.8% (US$1.1 billion)
- Felt, other non-woven garments: Up 70.3% ($312.6 million)
- Silver (unwrought): Up 49.8% ($641.2 million)
- Gold (unwrought): Up 44.9% ($87.9 billion)
- Medication mixes not in dosage: Up 36.5% ($308.6 million)
- Motorcycles: Up 31.9% ($716.4 million)
- Fresh or dried citrus fruit: Up 24.6% ($243.9 million)
- Medications: Up 23% (25.9 billion)
- Sauces, mixed condiments, seasoning: Up 18.7% ($203.1 million)
- Video console games, table games: Up 18.2% ($239.3 million)
Two among the above top 10 gainers are speciality products and therefore also durable goods that consumers can re-use over time. This duo of fastest-growing speciality products in demand by importers in Switzerland is comprised of unwrought precious metals, silver and gold.
The 4 fastest-growing imported shopping products are: miscellaneous textile items; garments made from felt or other non-woven garments; motorcycles; and video console or table games.
The 4 front-runners among the non-durable imported consumer products are medication mixes not in dosage; fresh or dried miscellaneous citrus fruit; medications; and sauces, mixed condiments or seasoning.
Worst-Declining Consumer Imports
Spending by import buyers in Switzerland on the following 10 items decreased in value by the highest percentages from 2019 to 2020.
- Jewelry: Down -52.2% ($7.9 billion)
- Processed petroleum oils: Down -49% ($2.6 billion)
- Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung): Down -44% ($454.6 million)
- Diamonds (unmounted/unset): Down -38% ($1.5 billion)
- Watch cases: Down -34.7% ($317.7 million)
- Original sculptures, statues: Down -34.3% ($331.1 million)
- Petroleum gas: Down -34.2% ($815.7 million)
- Miscellaneous watch straps, bands: Down -32.8% ($463.2 million)
- Wrist/pocket watches (with precious case): Down -26.8% ($1.1 billion)
- Miscellaneous printed pictures, photos: Down -25.4% ($578.1 million)
Three categories among Swiss top 10 severest decliners are durable shopping products used over a period of time. The worst slippage among those categories was for Switzerland’s imported watch cases; miscellaneous watch straps, bands and bracelets: and wrist or pocket watches with precious metal cases.
The strongest decline for the 5 durable speciality goods belongs to jewelry; unstrung precious or semi-precious stones; unset diamonds; original sculptures or statues; and miscellaneous printed pictures or photographs.
There were 2 non-durable consumer products among Switzerland’s 10 major import decliners from 2019 to 2020, namely processed petroleum oils and petroleum gas.
Key Suppliers by Country
This analysis reveals competitive suppliers that target demand for 5 of Switzerland’s top consumer import products.
Switzerland’s biggest imported consumer product by value is gold. The other 4 leading consumer goods imported into Switzerland are medications, cars, jewelry and computers.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for Switzerland’s imported:
Gold: United Kingdom (12.1% of total), Hong Kong (11.8%), United Arab Emirates (9.1%), Thailand (8.2%), United States (7.5%), Italy (5.7%), Germany (3.7%), Burkina Faso (also 3.7%), Ghana (3.4%), and France (3.2%).
Medications: Germany (25.4% of total), Spain (15.6%), Italy (13.1%), Austria (11.4%), Singapore (11%), France (5.6%), United States (3.3%), United Kingdom (3%), Slovenia (2.9%), and Belgium (1.5%).
Cars: Germany (34.5% of total), United States (8.7%), Czech Republic (6.5%), Spain (6.4%), Italy (5.8%), United Kingdom (5.2%), France (4.7%), Japan (4.4%), Hungary (3.6%), and Slovakia (3.1%).
Jewelry: United Arab Emirates (22.5% of total), France (21.4%), Hong Kong (11.3%), Italy (8.7%), United Kingdom (7.9%), United States (5.7%), Qatar (5.4%), China (3.6%), Germany (2.4%), and Taiwan (1.8%).
Computers: China (53.6% of total), Germany (9.7%), Czech Republic (7.9%), Ireland (4.7%), Netherlands (3.4%), United States (3.2%), Taiwan (3%), Hungary (2.6%), Italy (1.6%), and Thailand (also 1.6%).
More great research: Switzerland’s Main Imports by Top Supplier Countries, United States Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Canada’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, United Kingdom’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, 100 Top Consumer Products to Sell to Importers in Taiwan, Sweden’s Top Imported Consumer Products Ranked by Value
Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.
BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Switzerland Economy.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Investopedia, Consumer Goods, Consumer Staples Definition, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).
Richest Country Reports, Top 100 Richest Countries by GDP.
Trading Economics, Switzerland Consumer Spending.
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.
Wikipedia, Switzerland, Geography of Switzerland, Languages of Switzerland.
World’s Top Exports, Switzerland’s Top 10 Exports.