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Contact Lenses and Solutions in Western Europe

December 2019

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.

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Key Findings

Growing use of DD lenses

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.

Contact lens solutions losing market share as adoption of DD lenses rises

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.

Surging internet retailing inducing decline in unit prices

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.

High concentration in the market, while private label thrives in the UK

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.

New product developments to address digital strain

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.


Key findings

Regional Overview

Western Europe sees prolonged period of sluggish growth
Amid muted contact lens growth, active lifestyles drive sales
The UK retains top share, while France sees contraction
Demand for DD lenses sees the UK lead contact lenses growth
Demand for DD lenses negatively impacts contact lens solutions sales
Big brands turn to innovations to rekindle growth
Lack of scientific evidence surrounds blue light blocker’s efficacy
Optical shops and online retail war has intensified
Digital retailing is on the rise in Western Europe

Leading Companies and Brands

Top five players increase share in most Western European markets
International players dominate the market due to premium perception
Players focus on strengthening foothold in Germany, the UK and Italy
Photochromic functionality drives brand success

Forecast Projections

The UK leads value sales and forecast growth
Modest growth to be fuelled by rising DD demand in the UK

Country Snapshots

UK: market context
UK: competitive and retail landscape
Germany: market context
Germany: competitive and retail landscape
Spain: market context
Spain: competitive and retail landscape
Netherlands: market context
Netherlands: competitive and retail landscape
Sweden: market context
Sweden: competitive and retail landscape
Turkey: market context
Turkey: competitive and retail landscape
Switzerland: market context
Switzerland: competitive and retail landscape
Italy: market context
Italy: competitive and retail landscape
France: market context
France: competitive and retail landscape


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