A ship docked at one of the three Rhine locations in Basel that make up the Port of Switzerland.
The Port of Switzerland in Basel is the country's main import and export hub © Wikimedia

The majority of Swiss workers are employed in the service sector, mostly in business and finance and tourism. Chemical and pharmaceutical production and mechanical engineering/metals are the main branches of the industrial sector. The importance of agriculture for the economy is in decline.

The service sector with its commercial and financial centre provides employment for the majority of Switzerland's workers. Alongside banking and insurance, commodity trading is an important sector. Tourism also plays a key role for much of Switzerland's Alpine region especially.

Agriculture is important for tourism because it has shaped Switzerland's countryside and traditions. Although the sector is in decline, it still produces the majority of the food consumed in Switzerland.

The two main branches of the industrial sector – chemicals and pharmaceuticals and mechanical/electrical engineering and metals – have a strong export focus. The watchmaking industry is Switzerland’s third largest exporter and is renowned worldwide for its high quality, tradition and innovation.


Switzerland has around 48,000 farms working about a million hectares of land, with one in six farming organically. More than half of the agricultural land consists of natural meadows and pastures.

Chemical and pharmaceutical industry

Pharmaceuticals and chemicals account for over half of Switzerland's exports.

Machinery, electrical engineering and metals industry

The machinery, electrical engineering and metals industry is Switzerland's largest industrial employer and one of its leading exporters.

Watchmaking industry

Although Switzerland exports only a fraction of the world's watches in terms of quantity, it is the largest exporter in terms of value.


Tourism is an important export sector and provides one in four jobs in Switzerland's mountain regions.

Banks and insurance companies

Switzerland's banks and insurance companies are global leaders in wealth management and provide key financial services.

Commodities trading

Switzerland is one of the world's most important commodities trading hubs. The country's trade in oil and petroleum, metals, minerals and agricultural products is mainly coordinated in the regions of Geneva, Zug and Lugano.


The Swiss retail sector is dominated by two major distributors: Migros und Coop.


In terms of media use in Switzerland, newspapers outrank radio and television, while social media is preferred by young people.