Contact lenses and solutions is one of the largest eyewear categories in Eastern Europe. Its positive performance is driven by several factors: the increasing prevalence of optical disorders, ageing populations, rising disposable incomes, changing consumer lifestyles and fashion trends. The trend towards daily disposable lenses continues across the region, benefiting from their convenience of usage. Optical shops dominate distribution. The market is projected to register steady growth to 2024.
Preference for DD contact lenses in Western Europe has increased, mainly due to greater comfort and hygiene over conventional lenses. With rising consumer awareness around calcium deposits, consumers prefer the healthier alternative of changing lenses every day. However, in light of their higher pricing, demand for more affordable frequent replacement lenses (FRP), that are replaced bi-weekly or monthly is also expected to rise.
Consumer shift to DD lenses is hindering sales of contact lens solutions which has affected optical shops, depriving them of a crucial source of revenue as these are often sold as add-ons.
Internet retailing has become the second largest retail channel for contact lenses and solutions. Competitive pricing and convenience have catalysed the growth of internet retailing, causing competition between internet retailers and optical shops, resulting in a drop in unit prices and benefiting the consumer.
The market for contact lenses and solutions is highly concentrated, with the top five players representing almost 60% of the region’s value sales in 2017. Leading players include Novartis AG, Johnson & Johnson Inc and Cooper Cos Inc, which leverage their strong brand recognition, marketing and R&D resources to maintain their positions.
With the deterioration of eye health due to rising screen time, players are launching products to help combat these issues. For example, Biofinity Energys by CooperVision Italia Srl, launched in 2017, was the first contact lens to address eye tiredness and dryness caused by overworking on devices.
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