Western Europe is the world’s third largest region for contact lenses and solutions. Lower unit prices, as a result of the rise of internet retailing, led to modest growth over the review period, although demand is expected to be lifted by the move towards DD lenses that incorporate upgrades, such as silicone hydrogel, as well as the rising prevalence of myopia. The market remains highly concentrated, with the top five companies representing over 60% of value sales.
Between 2014 and 2019, sales in contact lenses and solutions in Western declined by CAGR of -0.1%, as increasing price competition between online and offline stores have been driving prices down. But retail value growth is expected to accelerate at 0.7% forecast CAGR 2019-2024. Demand is indeed expected to be lifted, by the growing popularity of sport and wellness, and the strong performance of Daily Disposables set to grow at 2% CAGR over 2019-2024, mainly due to greater comfort and hygiene over conventional lenses.
Consumer shift to DD lenses is hindering sales of contact lens solutions, depriving optical stores of a crucial source of revenue as these are sold as add-ons. Contact lens solutions sales in the region fell 4% CAGR between 2014 and 2019.
Internet retailing has become the second largest retail channel for contact lenses and solutions, after optical stores. Competitive pricing and convenience have catalysed growth in this channel, causing competition between internet retailers and optical shops, which ultimately benefits the consumer.
The market for contact lenses and solutions remains highly concentrated, with the top five companies representing over 60% of sales in 2018. Nevertheless, demand for private label in the UK has risen with the presence of large optical shops offering their own range of lenses at a cheaper price.
In light of the increased screen time of consumers on smart phones and other media devices, improved and innovative products have entered the market. For example, in 2018, Johnson & Johnson launched the first contact lenses with photochromic functionality, Acuvue Oasys with Transitions Light.
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