Pre-COVID-19, contact lenses had recorded dynamic retail volume growth, driven by strong demand for daily disposable lenses (DD), as an increasing number of Mexicans appreciated their convenience in terms of limited maintenance, and the fact that an increasing number of lens producers were using more innovative materials such as silicone hydrogel which allows greater oxygen levels to the eye, or UV-blocking contact lenses which help provide protection against the sun’s harmful rays. However, the emergence of COVID-19 in the first half of 2020 and the Mexican government’s subsequent response in terms of the lockdown saw a shift in attitudes and priorities amongst local contact lens wearers, as consumers focused on purchasing basic essentials such as groceries and medicines.
The transition trend from frequent replacement lenses (FRP) to daily disposable lenses (DD) has been evident since 2009 in Mexico and is set to continue over the forecast period, with unit sales of daily disposable lenses (DD) finally set to overtake those of frequent replacement lenses (FRP) in 2024, although the latter will continue to dominate value sales. Even so, daily disposable lenses (DD) faced a deeper contraction in 2020 than frequent replacement lenses (FRP) due to the increased time between orders.
While optical shops remained the key distribution channel for contact lenses and solutions in Mexico as many consumers visit these outlets for eye examinations and appreciate advice on correct usage and handling, lockdown measures introduced in Q2 2020 in response to COVID-19 resulted in these retailers operating with fewer staff, restricted hours and, quite often, offering only emergency services. Therefore, more general services in terms of advising clients on the most appropriate contact lenses were limited, which proved to be a huge barrier to new users during this period.
Contact lenses and solutions will achieve moderate, if accelerating, retail volume growth over the forecast period. Some wearers may revert to using existing spectacles in order to save money after the devastating impacts on many household budgets of the health crisis, while new users may be hesitant about opting for contact lenses after the negative coverage about the potential risks of using these products during the pandemic.
Manufacturers and retailers are unsure of the ongoing effects that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on consumer behaviour in respect to contact lenses. Players expect the time between orders period to eventually return to its natural rate as outdoor activities gradually revive in 2021, with a full recovery in 2022.
Silicone hydrogel lenses lost share during the COVID-19 pandemic as some consumers suffered restricted personal budgets during the crisis. While some may remain price sensitive depending on the local economy and their own financial circumstances concerning employment as lockdown measures are gradually eased, silicone hydrogel lenses are expected to recover the lost ground going forward despite the higher costs.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Contact Lenses industry in Mexico with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Contact Lenses research and analysis database.
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