Competitor Strategies in Eyewear

February 2021

2020 was a year that shook up the eyewear industry. While most key players will suffer in 2021, the severity of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic will vary by exposure. Companies that stand out with a wider number of strongly positioned brands and an established digital strategy, such as EssilorLuxottica, are likely to prove resilient. Expect to see trends, such as digitalisation, working from home and the wake-up call about inequality and inclusion, affecting operations for the long run.

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Key Findings

Supply chain

COVID-19 accelerated the importance of digital in the supply chain as companies tapped into new technologies to achieve a higher level of factory digitalisation and to improve work and personal safety.

Automation and robots is one trend that was already in progress, and industry players are expected to increasingly deploy these technologies going forward within the supply chain.

Route to consumer

Historically over reliant on the retailing channel of optical shops, eyewear players have been forced, as a result of COVID-19 to increase their e-commerce capabilities, alongside developing digital tools.  Increasingly, eyewear players will be expected to deploy digital services technology to replicate virtually their in-store offer,. The eyewear industry will have to invest in a more omnichannel approach going forward.

Price/product mix

Brands offering optimal value for money have benefited from the impact of COVID-19 due to the widespread global recession and unemployment rates.    Private label offering basic items at low prices is set to benefit from the depressed economic environment.


Consumers continue to trust the expertise of opticians. Hence, COVID-19 has forced retailers and manufacturers to develop digital eye health and virtual try-on tools, alongside e-commerce.

As medical expert advice remains a key element in the purchase of spectacles and contact lenses, we can expect a boom in innovation within the tele-optometry field.



COVID-19 impact summary (1)
The 4-step consumer progression of COVID-19

Competitive Environment Overview

Companies at a glance
Companies relying on luxury take greatest hit from COVID-19 in 2020
EssilorLuxottica merger causes reshuffle in rankings in 2019
COVID-19 may force eyewear companies to rely less on developed markets
EssilorLuxottica’s balanced mix of products pays off in 2020
Top players rely heavily on few brands

Key Themes and Opportunities: Digitalisation

COVID-19 accelerates the adoption of e-commerce
Eye players forced to rethink the customer journey
COVID-19 boosts digitalisation across EssilorLuxottica
Alcon supports ECPs to compete online through digital platform MARLO
Eyewear players deploy try-ons to virtually replicate in-store offerings
Michael Kors integrates virtual try-ons with social media platforms
J&J launches first-of-its-kind virtual try-on in contact lenses in China
Remote consultations take off during COVID-19 pandemic
Eyewear players deploy try-ons to virtually replicate in store offerings
J&J manages manufacturing virtually through crisis

Key Themes and Opportunities: Function

Players focus on new functional avenues to meet consumers’ needs
Safilo launches PPE eyewear
Luxottica’s Ray-Ban and Oakley focus on new categories in India
Remote work creates demand for blue light-blocking and myopia correction
Private label and lower-priced brands set to benefit from depressed economy

Key Themes and Opportunities: Sustainability and Ethical

Action on ethics and sustainability developing in eyewear post-COVID-19
Eyewear players response to COVID-19
Companies using green strategies to clean up their act
Sustainable eyewear brands made with recycled materials


COVID-19 impact summary (2)


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