The lack of inbound tourists and travel bans continued to adversely impact sales of luxury eyewear in South Africa in 2021, with the category recording another year of double-digit retail volume growth, while value declines were much lower in comparison to 2020’s slump. Most consumers prefer to try on eyewear before they buy, and this was temporarily not possible following the emergence of the pandemic when non-essential specialist stores were closed as part of the government’s restrictions to control the spread of the virus.
Affluent shoppers and aspirational consumers are traditionally the main drivers of growth in luxury eyewear. The wealthy are fairly price-inelastic and prefer luxury and high-end brands such as Chanel and Tom Ford.
The rise of the second-hand market in South Africa is taking sales away from new luxury eyewear as local aspirational consumers seek more cost-effective options. However, the challenge is to ensure the authenticity of such brands being sold on the market.
Luxury eyewear is not seen as a necessity in South Africa and is not one of those fashion items that tends to be replaced quickly. Hence, recovery of the category is likely to be slow, with overall demand for both luxury spectacle frames and luxury sun glasses set to remain significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels over the forecast period.
While most product categories can now be found online, including luxury jewellery, luxury eyewear is lagging behind in terms of online sales compared to the likes of super premium beauty and personal care. Key retailer Sunglass Hut did not have its own e-commerce business at the end of the review period, although it had an online presence where it displays its latest products.
The fashion industry evolves with culture over time, as seen with the new home-based fashion trends promoted during the pandemic. Eyewear has grown to be synonymous with fashion trends.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Luxury Eyewear industry in South Africa with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This is the aggregate of luxury sunglasses and luxury spectacle frames.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Luxury Eyewear research and analysis database.
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