Hello, summer! While June 21 marks the official day of summer in the United States, Memorial Day weekend heralds the unofficial start of the season. This means it is time to break out the outdoor-friendly entertaining essentials, hang out at the beach and sport white jeans and chic sunglasses.
Eyewear has increasingly become a stylish fashion accessory and statement piece. Brands are continuing to meet consumer demand by launching frequent designs and styles which tie in the new fashion trends. In the United States, sunglasses recorded retail value growth of 4% in 2017. Consumers are purchasing more than one pair of eyewear to match with different looks. While sunglasses sales are largely driven by the weather, the growing popularity of music festivals and outdoor events and activities supported stronger sales of sunglasses.
Top 15 Spectacle Brands 2016 by Value (USD Million)
1. Essilor – 5.1
2. Ray-Ban – 4.8
3. Varilux – 4.6
4. Carl Zeiss Single Vision – 1.4
5. Oakley – 1.2
6. Fielmann – 1.1
7. Hoya Single Vision – 1.1
8. Rodenstock – 1.1
9. Hoyalux iD – 0.8
10. BBGR – 0.8
11. Gucci – 0.7
12. Carl Zeiss Progressive – 0.6
13. Christian Dior – 0.6
14. Armani – 0.5
15. Dolce & Gabbana – 0.5
Source: Euromonitor International
Store-Based Retailing Channels
The two most important store-based retailers globally are optical shops and department stores. Optical shops are the most important distribution channel, accounting for 68% of sales. Consumers still place importance on the expertise and know-how of opticians when it comes to selecting eyewear. Department stores remain the second-largest distribution channel by some distance. In 2017 the channel accounted for 8% of global value sales, given its wider product portfolio, which is especially relevant for sunglasses.
The rise of internet retailing has caused optical shops and department stores to suffer. Internet retailing accounts for the vast majority of non-store sales globally. The channel accounted for 6% of global sales in 2017, up from 4% in 2012. Internet retailers offer convenience by enabling consumers to browse a diverse product range from the comfort of their own home. Internet retailing in eyewear is set to keep cannibalizing sales of optical shops. To remain relevant, businesses must learn how to offer advice and expertise throughout the digital shopping journey.
The Future of Eyewear
There are several socio-demographic factors that will impact the future of the industry. The ageing global population along with the rapidly increasing disposable income levels and the awareness of the importance of eye health will sustain growth through 2022.
Internet retailing is set to keep outgrowing the eyewear category as a whole and the performance of optical good stores. However, saturation in the digital market will impact growth. Physical retailers are repurposing their physical space to attract customers through services and more experiential paths to purchase by adding digital features to the retail space.