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Swarovski Binoculars - Volume of Production (1 Viewer)

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Jan has posted about the relative popularity of the three new NL models in terms of sales in his shop
The breakdown is perhaps somewhat surprisingly, around 60% for the 12x42, 30% for the 10x42, and 10% for the 8x42
see post #14 at: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/swarovski-nl-pure-10x42-are-there-supply-issues.406230/

This prompted me to revisit something that I’ve thought about before. The serial number information that I’ve collected
makes it possible to look at the production/ popularity of the various Swarovski binocular lines over time
Although it doesn’t give the same degree of detail as Jan’s experience, I think that it will be of some interest to many

Notwithstanding that Swarovski doesn’t formally publish detailed information about sales (and nor does Zeiss or Leica),
the particular combination of Swarovski’s serial numbering, along with the use of the Internet to view sales listings, makes the following possible

- - - -
While doing so may not endear me to some at Swarovski (so I won’t be surprised if I don’t receive a Christmas basket!),
posting the information doesn’t put Swarovski at any real comparative disadvantage, especially in relation to Zeiss and Leica
e.g. in many locations Swarovski is the most popular of the three in terms of binocular sales

Additionally, I imagine that all three already informally collect information about relative sales by various means,
including having their sales representatives discuss the topic with larger retailers


Serial Number Construction
As many will be aware, with the serial numbering that was used until September last year:
• the prefix letter indicated the product line or product type
• the first 2 numerals the year of production (add 1930)
• the next 2 numerals the week of production (from 01 to 52), and
• the last 5 numerals were a consecutive serial number (within a 10,000 unit range)


Recent Yearly Production (in thousands of units)
EL x50 - c2.5k (D8839 40387 to D8935 42860 - so from September 2018 to August 2019)
EL x42 - c11.3k (K8837 48490 to K9036 49782) *
EL x32 - c4k (F8816 46281 to F8910 40146) *

SLC x56 - c2.8k (N8841 48935 to N8937 42811) *
SLC x42 - c5.7k (C8904 40861 to C9004 46583)

CL x30 - c6.6k (K8913 54064 to K9009 50525) *
CL x25 - c9k (G8917 57157 to G9027 56892) *

EL Range - c8k (T8903 67270 to T9004 65209) *

Habicht - c2k (A8906 17252 to A9010 19350) **

For a total of 50k+


* the consecutive numbering reset when the limit of the number block was reached e.g. the EL’s numbering ran from 40000 to 49999
** comprises all of the CF models: 8x30, 7x42 and 10x40, in both leatherette and RA


Limitations
The above is the most recent data that I’ve collected. So it’s necessarily about past - but relatively recent - production
The 12 month periods don’t exactly coincide, though they do largely overlap; the range being from early 2018 to mid 2019
And as not all the periods are precisely 12 months, I’ve sometimes rounded slightly up or down


Some Observations
In terms of current offerings, the above predates:
• the introduction of the dG monocular and the NL x42 binocular line
• the updated versions of the CL x25 and the El Range TA, and
• the discontinuation of the SLC x42

The demand for models eventually wanes over time. So sales will change in both absolute and relative terms for earlier and later periods in a production cycle

Knowing unit sales, doesn’t give any idea of unit profitability e.g. in US dollars:
• the $2k EL x32 compared to the $1.1k CL x30, or
• the effect of the set up and teething costs associated with initially producing the newly released $3k NL x42, compared to producing the long established $2.1k EL x42 (now the modified Legend version), and compared to producing the much longer established $1.2k Habicht (the RA 10x40 being the most expensive in the line)

And in considering Swarovski’s production capacity, besides hand-held optics they also manufacture comprehensive lines of both telescopes and telescopic sights


John
 
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Thanks, John. Interesting: SLC 56 may outsell EL 50. SLC 42 was quite popular, yet now discontinued. EL 42 was #1, yet now downgraded. CL 25 was #2, more popular than CL 30. The Range line was #3; hunters are clearly underrepresented in my acquaintance.
 
Hi tenex,

I think that one of the things that the data makes obvious is that a replacement for the SLC x42 should be expected very soon
While the SLC had declined in popularity over time, it was still over 10% of the total production
So one would expect a substantial bump in demand for a new model with attractive features, specifications and pricing: a CL x40/ 42?

Interestingly, Kahles has recently pushed back the relaunch of the SLC x42 (as the Helia S) to June, see post #8 at:
So an indication to expect a new model from Swarovski before then?

And I too was surprised at the popularity of the EL Range (pre-TA version). Particularly when taking into account:
it's age, dating from 2010, and; that it lacked the data transfer capabilities of the more recent Zeiss and Leica alternatives


John
 
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One way to consider the production numbers is in relation to retail prices, as shown in the attached table

The table shows four broad groupings:
A) 20% (10.5k) at $3,000+/- (mainly the EL Range x42, plus the EL x50)

B) 35% (18.1k) at $2,200+/- (mainly the EL x42, plus the EL x32, and also the SLC x56)

C) 11% (5.7k) at $1,600 (the SLC x42)

D) 34% (17.6k) at $1,000+/- (mainly the CL x25, plus the CL x30, and also the Habicht line)


The upgraded EL Range TA, and especially the new NL, will add to the high end A) level sales
And the specialised dG should add somewhat to the B) level

A 'CL x40' would fill the gap at the C) level, left by the discontinuation of the SLC x42
Though the exact pricing would presumedly need to carefully factor in various considerations,
especially when compared to Leica and Zeiss offerings


John
 

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One way to consider the production numbers is in relation to retail prices, as in the attached table

It shows four broad groupings:
A) 20% (10.5k) at $3,000+/- (mainly the EL Range x42, plus the EL x50)

B) 35% (18.1k) at $2,200+/- (mainly the EL x42, plus the EL x32, and the SLC x56)

C) 11% (5.7k) at $1,600 (the SLC x42)

D) 34% (17.6k) at $1,000+/- (mainly the CL x25, plus the CL x30, and the Habicht)


The upgraded EL Range TA, and especially the new NL, will both add to the high end A) level sales
And the specialised dG should add somewhat to the B) level

A 'CL x40' would fill the gap at the C) level, left by the discontinuation of the SLC x42
Though the exact pricing would presumedly need to carefully factor in various considerations,
especially when compared to Leica and Zeiss offerings


John
Thank you for this serious contribution to our understanding of the binocular business.
The volumes involved, a few tens of thousands, compare to the annual million plus DSLR production by the Canons, Nikons and Sonys.
So a small niche market, with multiple competitors.
Kudos to Swarovski, they have achieved market leadership in a difficult space.
 
Interestingly, Kahles has recently pushed back the relaunch of the SLC x42 (as the Helia S) to June, see post #8 at:
So an indication to expect a new model from Swarovski before then?
Hopefully the response from buyers will reflect the new name, which to me reads as "H#ll Yes" !
 
Other Swarovski Production

Swarovski has 3 main lines of commercial production; handheld optics, telescopes and telescopic sights
I’ve collected less serial number data about the telescopes and even less about the sights

However, after doing some comparisons across data from recent years, my best estimate is that current annual production would be:
• at least 30,000 telescopes (including the serial numbered eyepieces, camera adapters and the ME extender for the X series), and
• at least 50,000 sights

So the total of Swarovski's own commercial production is at the very least 130,000 units per year - and most likely significantly more

- - - -
The qualification 'own commercial production' is because under the Swarotec brand, Swarovski provides a variety of services to other companies *
To quote from the 2016 Sustainability Report:
'Swarotec, a division of Swarovski Optik, specialises in the development and manufacture of custom system solutions for applications used by industrial customers. These include, for example, high-resolution imaging systems, laser-measuring modules or display integration in optical products, which are used in industrial image processing, medical and ophthalmological devices, long-range optical instruments, and automated production systems with optical process control.' **

The extent of what Swarotec does, especially for industrial clients, is of course unknown
However, two known products are:
• the glass in starMed’s SV iMag line of binocular loupes for dental use, and
• the coated achromats in Sure-Loc’s Black Eagle line of archery sights
(see the attached images)

And as previously indicated, the new Kahles Helia S binocular (the recently discontinued Swarovski x42 SLC), is due later this year
As to whether it'll be manufactured by Kahles, or perhaps assembled by them using Swarovski manufactured components, is unclear
See post #1 at: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/new-kahles-helia-s-8x42-and-10x42-models.403874/


* the Swarotec site is at: https://www.swarotec.com/en.html

** for some examples of the variety of information in the 136 page Swarovski Optik Sustainability Report, along with the current address for it
(it's included in the most recent post), see: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/swarovski-optik’s-2016-sustainability-report.373270/


John
 

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For some indication of Swarovski's ongoing capability, the following information was recently posted elsewhere:
First the NLPure 42mm, then the EL Range TA, now the 32’s, very impressive having replaced the top of their line in eight months in all but the 50’s.
Part of the reason that this is possible, is due to Swarovski completing a building programme at Absam, in the fall of last year
The construction took well over 2 years at a cost €27 million, and comprises both a new production building and a new administrative one

The production building which is intended to meet future demand '. . . hous(es) a cutting-edge anodization plant for aluminum surface finishing,
facilities for optical component production and device assembly, as well as a technical center.'

For more details and some exterior images see: https://www.swarovskioptik.com/int/...e-new-administration-and-production-buildings


John
 
Production in terms of Sales

Swarovski Optik has posted a press release today showing that it’s sales for 2020 were €163.5 million (around US $192 million) *
See at: SWAROVSKI OPTIK keeps on growing successfully

The press release also notes:
'In May this year, monthly sales exceeded the 20-million-euro mark for the first time. Record figures that continued in June.'

'Over the past 15 years, the company has invested 150 million euros in the Tyrolean site. Of this, 27 million euros have been invested in the current capacity expansion program in the last 3 years alone, in order to be able to meet the constantly increasing demand in the future as well.'

And among other things the press release stresses that as a family business SO takes a long term view to grow sustainably, show market leadership and increase the value of the brand.


To place the annual figure into context, also see a graph showing performance for the years 2009 to 2020. It can be found at: Facts and Figures
n.b. The 2009 figure reflects the effect of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. In contrast, the 2008 year figure was €93 million.

One remarkable thing mentioned on the Facts & Figures page is that 91% of production is exported (this is a consistent figure from year-to-year). Or to put it another way, 9% of sales are within Austria which only has a population of 9 million!


* SO is a privately owned company, so the figures provided are sales in terms of turnover, rather than profit.
And many will be aware, SO is one part of the Swarovski Group, comprising 3 main components: the Crystal Business, Tyrolit Abrasives, and Swarovski Optik.
SO is by far and away the smallest enterprise both in terms of turnover and staff. In 2018 figures:
• CB €2.7 billion; with 29k employees
• TA €0.68 billion; with 4.6k employees
• SO €0.16 billion; with 0.96k employees

- - - -
Some initial observations:

Firstly, the performance seems remarkable taking into account the effects that the Coronavirus must have had, both on SO’s own operations and those of it’s numerous suppliers:
. . .
The components that Swarovski (Optik) obtains from others are outlined in their 2016 Sustainability Report
The 136 page 8.5 MB report can be found can be found at: Sustainable management
Go half way down the page click on the button 'Dive In'

The report indicates that Swarovski uses a variety of both semi-finished and finished components. To quote:
• Our global supplier network contains more than 500 suppliers in more than 35 countries. More than 100 of them supply parts and components that are incorporated directly into our products (p.70)

• We purchase glass blanks from Germany and Asia, while metal and molded parts mainly come from Europe . . . The semi-finished products and components that we purchase from suppliers include plastic parts, electronic components, gaskets, screws, accessories such as straps, bags, tripods or smartphone adapters, and many more (p.71)

• Electronic components are purchased and integrated into our products. In our development, manufacturing, and repair activities, we find it a challenge keeping pace with the short life cycles that electronic components have (p.93)
. . .


Secondly, various comments regarding the quality of current production (e.g. in relation to the NL’s focuser operation and eyecups, and more generally in relation to the durability of RA coverings), perhaps need to be considered in relation to the above.


John


p.s. And for a broader context, see a graph of annual turnover from 1973 to 2015. It's from page 18 of the 2016 Sustainability Report.
 

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SO is a privately owned company, so the figures provided are sales in terms of turnover, rather than profit.
Can we guess you mean revenue, when you use the term turnover? This is not just a strategy of privately owned companies. Reporting profit, the difference between revenue and (simply put), costs gets much closer to the bone and reveals more than most companies would choose to those paying attention. More interesting to us might be units sold rather than revenue. I'd be fun to be able to compare SLCs, CLS, Els to NLS vs Ultravids, SFs, etc.
Secondly, various comments regarding the quality of current production (e.g. in relation to the NL’s focuser operation and eyecups, and more generally in relation to the durability of RA coverings), perhaps need to be considered in relation to the above.
Ah yes. Add these data to Jan's report of sales from House of Outdoor, admittedly just one small, but good, data point, and a picture does emerge that begs why so many nits get picked and beat on so hard, here on BF.....
 
Hi Tom (post #10),

What I’ve been able to find out previously from the Internet is that:
a) Going back to the earliest information from Swarovski Optik in 2012, and until now, SO has always used 'turnover' to describe annual income;

b) From 2012, Swarovski Crystal has used 'revenue' to describe not only it’s own income but also that of Tyrolit and SO (with the same figures that SO listed as turnover);

c) Prior to 2012, Swarovski Crystal instead used turnover, and;

d) The very earliest information for Swarovski, D & Co. (the Swarovski Group) used 'Sales turnover' in Austrian schillings (from pages 9 and 10 of 'Major Financial Institutions of Continental Europe 1989/90' by R. M. Whiteside, which can be found using Google Books).


So it was interesting to see that the SO press release instead uses 'sales' and it is equated to turnover i.e. the 2020 sales figure of €163.5 million, is in the table of annual turnover included on the Facts & Figures page.

However, regardless of the word used, firstly it’s going to be an English approximation of a German language term. And presumedly it’s specific technical meaning is going to be defined by, what’s required under the public reporting obligations, under Austrian company law. But as to what that means in terms of extent and limitations, I have no idea.


John
 
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Jan has posted about the relative popularity of the three new NL models in terms of sales in his shop
The breakdown is perhaps somewhat surprisingly, around 60% for the 12x42, 30% for the 10x42, and 10% for the 8x42
see post #14 at: Swarovski NL Pure 10x42 Are there supply issues?

This prompted me to revisit something that I’ve thought about before. The serial number information that I’ve collected
makes it possible to look at the production/ popularity of the various Swarovski binocular lines over time
Although it doesn’t give the same degree of detail as Jan’s experience, I think that it will be of some interest to many

Notwithstanding that Swarovski doesn’t formally publish detailed information about sales (and nor does Zeiss or Leica),
the particular combination of Swarovski’s serial numbering, along with the use of the Internet to view sales listings, makes the following possible

- - - -
While doing so may not endear me to some at Swarovski (so I won’t be surprised if I don’t receive a Christmas basket!),
posting the information doesn’t put Swarovski at any real comparative disadvantage, especially in relation to Zeiss and Leica
e.g. in many locations Swarovski is the most popular of the three in terms of binocular sales

Additionally, I imagine that all three already informally collect information about relative sales by various means,
including having their sales representatives discuss the topic with larger retailers


Serial Number Construction
As many will be aware, with the serial numbering that was used until September last year:
• the prefix letter indicated the product line or product type
• the first 2 numerals the year of production (add 1930)
• the next 2 numerals the week of production (from 01 to 52), and
• the last 5 numerals were a consecutive serial number (within a 10,000 unit range)


Recent Yearly Production (in thousands of units)
EL x50 - c2.5k (D8839 40387 to D8935 42860 - so from September 2018 to August 2019)
EL x42 - c11.3k (K8837 48490 to K9036 49782) *
EL x32 - c4k (F8816 46281 to F8910 40146) *

SLC x56 - c2.8k (N8841 48935 to N8937 42811) *
SLC x42 - c5.7k (C8904 40861 to C9004 46583)

CL x30 - c6.6k (K8913 54064 to K9009 50525) *
CL x25 - c9k (G8917 57157 to G9027 56892) *

EL Range - c8k (T8903 67270 to T9004 65209) *

Habicht - c2k (A8906 17252 to A9010 19350) **

For a total of 50k+


* the consecutive numbering reset when the limit of the number block was reached e.g. the EL’s numbering ran from 40000 to 49999
** comprises all of the CF models: 8x30, 7x42 and 10x40, in both leatherette and RA


Limitations
The above is the most recent data that I’ve collected. So it’s necessarily about past - but relatively recent - production
The 12 month periods don’t exactly coincide, though they do largely overlap; the range being from early 2018 to mid 2019
And as not all the periods are precisely 12 months, I’ve sometimes rounded slightly up or down


Some Observations
In terms of current offerings, the above predates:
• the introduction of the dG monocular and the NL x42 binocular line
• the updated versions of the CL x25 and the El Range TA, and
• the discontinuation of the SLC x42

The demand for models eventually wanes over time. So sales will change in both absolute and relative terms for earlier and later periods in a production cycle

Knowing unit sales, doesn’t give any idea of unit profitability e.g. in US dollars:
• the $2k EL x32 compared to the $1.1k CL x30, or
• the effect of the set up and teething costs associated with initially producing the newly released $3k NL x42, compared to producing the long established $2.1k EL x42 (now the modified Legend version), and compared to producing the much longer established $1.2k Habicht (the RA 10x40 being the most expensive in the line)

And in considering Swarovski’s production capacity, besides hand-held optics they also manufacture comprehensive lines of both telescopes and telescopic sights


John
Thanks for that John


Swarovski don't won't even confirm or deny the number of optical units they produce, so this information is really useful...

Cheers
Tim
 
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