Doing Businessin Switzerland

Swiss Market Insights

As one of the most competitive economies in the world, Switzerland has one of the highest rates of GDP per capita anywhere, an attractive tax regime, a stable legal and political system and a highly educated workforce.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has created a new set of challenges for the Swiss market.

Enterprise Ireland is responding to the global crisis by working with Irish exporters to help them avail of business response supports announced by the Government. These supports are designed to help businesses stabilise and adapt to the evolving situation, in preparation for getting back on the road to recovery.

Market Overview

As one of the most competitive economies in the world, Switzerland has one of the highest rates of GDP per capita anywhere, an attractive tax regime, a stable legal and political system and a highly educated workforce.

The country is landlocked and borders Italy, Germany, France, Austria and Lichtenstein. Although the majority of the population are German speaking, French, Italian and Romansh are widely spoken.

With a population barely double that of our own, Switzerland is the 10th largest market globally for sales from Enterprise Ireland client companies.

€394m Enterprise Ireland Client Exports (2020)

8.71m Population (2020)

GDP per capita €71,000 (2021)

Get Export Ready

Switzerland is an established home of innovation with almost 3% of GDP invested in research and development. This is reflected in its openness to adopt innovative new products or systems compared to larger markets nearby. For Irish exporters, the Swiss market is attractive not least because of its high purchasing power and good payment habits. Payment defaults and returns rates are significantly lower than elsewhere, and low VAT at 8% much lower than in other European countries (e.g. Germany 19%, France 20%).

Key Market Sectors

Enterprise Ireland is playing a key role in supporting ambitious companies seeking opportunities in Switzerland’s engineering, ICT and fintech sectors. Additionally, Switzerland is home to unique leading industry clusters including the life sciences cluster in the Northwest region of Basel.

Read more on Switzerland’s sectoral successes in our Going Global Guide.

  • Switzerland has a strong reputation for its pharmaceutical clusters which include Novartis and Roche
  • Some of the world’s largest banking and insurance providers are located in Switzerland
  • Geneva, Lugano and Zug are key trading hubs for commodities.

Doing Business

Like the watches for which they are famous, the Swiss value precision. Usually rational and understated by nature, Swiss businesspeople are swayed by details, facts and figures rather than claims that can’t be supported. The more information you can provide about your product or service, the better they will be able to evaluate its merits and come to a decision.

Technical presentations, rather than sales-led or marketing-driven messages, are often the best way to convince a Swiss audience.

Best Routes to Market

Choosing the right route to market is very important. Agents bring a deep understanding of local business practices while joint ventures and acquisitions bring valuable established contacts, customers and market knowledge.

Heavily reliant on exports, the Swiss are naturally open to discussing business with international companies, and this attitude extends to their willingness to meet with Irish companies and discuss possible opportunities for partnerships as well as sales.

Download our Going Global Guide to Switzerland to find out more.

Before You Go

Before you go, we recommend you invest some time in researching the terrain before you explore the Swiss market. Here’s a few starting points to consider…

  1. Market Landscape
  2. Market Trends
  3. Target Market
  4. Market Segmentation
  5. Market Competition
  6. Market Research Resources

Visa requirements, Swiss labour laws, business entities, import rules and regulations, key taxes, and data and intellectual property protection are also addressed in the Going Global Guide. Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre offers client companies access to market intelligence in the form of company, sector, market, and country information to explore opportunities and compete in international markets.

Helping You Succeed

We are committed to helping you succeed in global markets and have an immense wealth of knowledge and expertise in the Swiss market

Enterprise Ireland assists clients entering new markets with pre-visit support, in-market support, international trade events, additional supports and access to our Market Advisors to provide business expertise and on-the-ground knowledge.

Switzerland – Duesseldorf Office
Vincenz Wagner


Enterprise Ireland
DACH Office
Derendorfer Allee 6

40476 Dusseldorf

00 49 211 470 59 39

Download our Going Global Guide or talk to one of our Enterprise Ireland market advisers in Switzerland, today. Find out how you can achieve your global ambition.