That dollar amount reflects a 27.7% increase compared to $279.2 billion during 2018.
Year over year, the overall cost that Switzerland paid for its imports increased by 9.9% from $324.5 billion spent in 2021.
Based on average exchange rates for 2022, the Swiss franc appreciated by 2.4% against the US dollar since 2018 but decreased by -4.5% from 2021 to 2022. Switzerland’s weaker local currency since 2021 made the Swiss Confederation’s imports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively more expensive when converted starting from the Swiss franc.
Domestically, Switzerland posted a 3.055% inflation rate in 2022 specific to its average consumer prices.
Switzerland’s Best Import Suppliers
The latest available country-specific data shows that 70.8% of products imported into Switzerland were supplied by exporters in: Germany (35.6% of the Swiss global total), United States of America (7.5%), Italy (5.2%), France (5.1%), mainland China (4%), United Kingdom (2.8%), Austria (2.7%), Spain (2.2%), United Arab Emirates (also 2.2%), Slovenia (1.8%), Canada (1.7%) and South Africa (1.3%).
From a continental perspective, over half (55.3%) of Switzerland’s total imports by value in 2022 were purchased from fellow European countries. Trade partners in Asia supplied 22.4% of imports bought by Switzerland while another 13.1% worth originated from North America.
Smaller percentages came from Africa (5.5%), Latin America (2.9%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.9%) led by Australia.
Given Switzerland’s population of 8.7 million people, its total $356.6 billion in 2022 imported goods translates to about $46,000 in yearly product demand from every person in the European country. That per-capita dollar amount eclipses the average $37,200 one year earlier in 2021.
Switzerland’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Switzerland’s import purchases during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Switzerland.
- Gems, precious metals: US$117.6 billion (33% of total imports)
- Pharmaceuticals: $48.7 billion (13.7%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $23.7 billion (6.6%)
- Machinery including computers: $21.8 billion (6.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $18.5 billion (5.2%)
- Vehicles: $16.7 billion (4.7%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $9.3 billion (2.6%)
- Organic chemicals: $9.2 billion (2.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $8.4 billion (2.4%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $5.2 billion (1.5%)
Switzerland’s top 10 imports accounted for over three-quarters (78.2%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Mineral fuels including oil achieved the fastest-growing increase in overall cost among the top 10 import categories, up 117.1% year over year.
Trailing that category were imported organic chemicals (up 15.7% from 2021). Switzerland’s imports under the pharmaceuticals category rose 15.2%, ahead of imported electrical machinery and equipment’s 7.9% upturn.
The lone decline was the -2.4% reduction from 2021 to 2022 for Swiss imports of furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefabricated buildings.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.
At the more detailed 4-digit HTS code level, Switzerland spent the most on imported gold (27.6% of Swiss total imports), medication mixes in dosage (8.9%), blood fractions including antisera (4.5%), cars (3.1%), electrical energy (2.6%), jewelry (2.5%), processed petroleum oils (1.7%), petroleum gases (1.6%), computers (1.1%), and phone devices including smartphones (1%).
Swiss Most Valuable Imported Gems and Precious Metals
In 2022, Swiss importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of gems and precious metals.
- Gold (unwrought): US$98.4 billion (up 6.2% from 2021)
- Jewelry: $8.9 billion (up 6.6%)
- Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $2.4 billion (up 32.9%)
- Platinum (unwrought): $2.29 billion (down -32.8%)
- Precious metal waste, scrap: $2.25 billion (up 88.1%)
- Silver (unwrought): $1.3 billion (up 4.3%)
- Coins: $866 million (down -20%)
- Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung): $641.8 million (down -5%)
- Natural pearl/precious stone items: $144.5 million (up 25.3%)
- Imitation jewelry: $112.3 million (down -1.6%)
Among these import subcategories, Switzerland’s purchases of precious metal waste and scrap (up 88.1%), unmounted diamonds (up 32.9%), then items made with natural pears or precious stones (up 25.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported gems and precious metals among Swiss businesses and consumers.
Swiss Most Valuable Imported Pharmaceuticals Products
In 2022, Swiss importers spent the most on the following subcategories of pharmaceuticals.
- Medication mixes in dosage: US$31.7 billion (up 17.2% from 2021)
- Blood fractions (including antisera): $16.2 billion (up 11.6%)
- Medication mixes not in dosage: $323 million (up 3%)
- Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods: $280.3 million (up 22.1%)
- Packaged dressings: $153.3 million (up 13.2%)
- Dried organs, heparin: $29.1 million (down -3.1%)
Among these import subcategories, Switzerland’s purchases of sutures and special pharmaceutical goods (up 22.1%), medication mixes in dosage (up 17.2%), then packaged dressings (up 13.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported pharmaceuticals among Swiss businesses and consumers.
Swiss Most Valuable Imported Mineral Fuels Including Oil
In 2022, Swiss importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels including oil.
- Electrical energy: US$9.2 billion (up 121.2% from 2021)
- Processed petroleum oils: $6.1 billion (up 60.7%)
- Petroleum gases: $5.8 billion (up 291.4%)
- Crude oil: $2.3 billion (up 88.9%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $138.8 million (down -3%)
- Lignite: $27.2 million (up 101.3%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $19.9 million (down -29.9%)
- Peat: $16 million (down -2.7%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $15.3 million (up 115.4%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $15.1 million (up 21.7%)
Among these import subcategories, Switzerland’s purchases of petroleum gases (up 291.4%), electrical energy (up 121.2%), then coal including solid fuels made from coal (up 115.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among Swiss businesses and consumers.
Swiss Most Valuable Imported Machinery Products Including Computers
In 2022, Swiss importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$4.1 billion (up 8.4% from 2021)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $1.3 billion (up 3%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $1.2 billion (up 2.5%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $1 billion (up 2.1%)
- Refrigerators, freezers: $881 million (up 5%)
- Printing machinery: $815 million (down -7.5%)
- Turbo-jets: $770.5 million (up 6.9%)
- Temperature-change machines: $707.2 million (up 4.4%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $648.1 million (up 5.9%)
- Other machine parts, accessories: $642 million (up 6.6%)
Among these import subcategories, Switzerland’s purchases of computers including optical readers (up 8.4%), turbo-jets (up 6.9%) then other machine parts or accessories (up 6.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Swiss businesses and consumers.
See also Switzerland’s Top Trading Partners, Switzerland’s Top 10 Exports and Switzerland’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on April 12, 2023
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (Domestic Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on April 12, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 12, 2023