Eyewear: Quarterly Statement Q4 2020

December 2020

In early November 2020, Euromonitor International published revised forecasts for eyewear for 2020 to 2025 that considered the implications of Coronavirus (COVID-19). COVID-19 has severely disrupted global demand for eyewear in 2020, but impacted demand differently across categories and markets. This quarterly update reflects the impact of the latest sets of COVID-19 containment restrictions and the announcement that vaccination campaigns were starting in various parts of the world.

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Key Findings

Spectacles and contact lenses fare better than sunglasses

COVID-19 has impacted eyewear categories to different extents, with sunglasses being the worst hit, as the pandemic and its devastating impact have led consumers to focus on essentials, while the category also suffered from significant travel disruptions.

Spectacles sales upgraded in Q4 2020

Full-year revenues for spectacles have been upgraded, mostly as the US spectacles market is set to decline less sharply in 2020, thanks to optical shops having reopened since May-June, and as consumers working from home are more often wearing spectacles over contact lenses. Also, the new sets of retail restrictions in Europe in November 2020 did not cause similar store-based losses as in early 2020, as optical shops were allowed to remain open.

Sales of contact lenses remain aligned with previous estimates

In Q4 2020, contact lenses revenues for the full year 2020 and the forecasts through to 2025 remain aligned with the June 2020 estimates. Sales of contact lenses were cushioned from the blow of COVID-19 and retail restrictions better than other eyewear categories, thanks to a greater penetration of online sales pre-COVID-19. Increased home working continues to drive a shift from frequent replacement lenses (FRPs) to daily disposables (DDs).

Sunglasses forecasts improve in Q4 2020

Travel restrictions and lockdown measures continue to have a detrimental impact on demand for sunglasses, the most discretionary eyewear category. But in Q4 2020, forecasts for sunglasses were improved to reflect the hope that travel activities will resume to some normality by the second half of 2021, thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine, announced in late 2020.

E-commerce and digitalisation accelerate

COVID-19 has forced the eyewear industry to accelerate its shift to e-commerce, supported by the adoption of digital tools, such as virtual try-on and tele-optometry. Manufacturers and retailers are indeed accelerating their digitalisation in an attempt to counterbalance store-based losses, and generate lockdown-proof revenues in case of major disruptions in future.


Euromonitor International and COVID-19: forecasts and analysis
Eyewear quarterly update methodology
Eyewear shows relatively low income elasticity
Eyewear COVID-19 data and reporting timeline
Key findings


Key drivers shaping eyewear
Second wave lockdowns during Q4 have let optical shops operate
COVID-19 forces eyewear’s transition to e-commerce…
…and acts as a catalyst for digital eye health and tele-optometry
Remote work and education has a profound impact on retail…
….and could boost demand for blue light-blocking and myopia correction

Macroeconomic Update

Summer was more optimistic, but the pandemic starts a second wave
In our baseline view, economies start rebounding in 2021
Three scenarios examining the impact of a more severe outbreak
Our view in short
Forecast real GDP growth in 2020 under different scenarios

Q4 eyewear Update

Eyewear outlook slightly upgraded in Q4 update
Spectacles fares better compared with other eyewear categories
Improved forecast for spectacles in Q4 2020
Sunglasses hit hard by travel disruptions…
…but forecasts brighten up at the news of COVID-19 vaccines
Home seclusion accelerates global shift to daily disposables (DDs)
US sees biggest restatement in Q4 update

Opportunities and Conclusion

Pockets of growth


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