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.
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.
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.
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.
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