COVID-19 had a significant negative impact on eyewear as a whole in 2020, particularly with regard to its exposure to certain distribution channels (including travel retail). However, in 2021, as vaccines are now being more widely distributed, restrictions are mostly being lifted in the UK, and consumers are entering a “new normal”, people can once again attend their eye appointments and visit stores, motivating them to buy eyewear products.
After a poor start to the year, by the second quarter of 2021 sales of eyewear started to recover in Europe, and in the UK in particular. Channel-based divisions of Professional Solutions (wholesale) and Direct to Consumer (physical retail and e-commerce) both accelerated.
Luxottica Group UK (EssilorLuxottica) remains a powerhouse, continuing to lead luxury eyewear in the UK, despite the category taking a significant hit in 2020 as a result of lifestyle disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact that the company’s portfolio of brands includes very popular luxury brand names has certainly aided the company to maintain its share and will aid in its sales recovery.
In 2021, increasing levels of myopia and the changing cultural perspective on wearing spectacles have been driving sales of luxury spectacles, and this is expected to continue in the forecast period. Health-consciousness and the pursuit of self-betterment have made consumers increasingly concerned about the visual damage caused by smartphones, tablets and computers, and are motivating them to purchase higher-quality eyewear products to ensure their eye health.
The growth of luxury eyewear will continue to depend largely on millennials and gen Z. Even prior to the pandemic, young consumers were gravitating to luxury eyewear brands with a strong digital presence, storytelling and interesting retail experiences, such as that of Gentle Monster stores, designed to resemble art exhibitions, or smart mirrors in Sunglass Hut.
Social distancing restrictions and lockdowns in the UK in 2020 and the first part of 2021 meant that consumers had to turn to the online channel for many of their purchases. This led smaller opticians with a weak online presence to suffer, while pure and multi-channel players benefited.
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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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