Despite being considered across most markets as an “essential service”, most optical shops were operating at a much-reduced capacity during 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, addressing only essential eye care needs. This weakened the performance of the spectacles category.
In South Korea, bricks and mortar stores remain a major channel for eyewear due to a regulation that prohibits the sale of vision correction products via e-commerce in the country. However, the growth of bricks and mortar stores has gradually slowed as e-commerce marketplaces are becoming increasingly popular for spectacle frames, which are not included under the legislation for online sales.
Blue light blocking lenses are expected to see steady demand in 2021 as consumers will seek out protection from harmful blue light emitted from digital devices. Chemiglas Corp strengthened its leading position in spectacle lenses in 2020 as consumer demand rose for value-for-money options for blue light blocking lenses.
Digitalisation is set to accelerate in educational institutions over the forecast period since remote learning which became essential due to the onset of the pandemic is set to continue for some time. In February 2021, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education announced that it would give out KRW300,000 per freshmen entering middle school and high school for use on purchases of digital devices such as tablet PCs and school uniforms.
Before the onset of the pandemic, spectacles had been increasingly perceived as fashion items among younger people. Older generations, on the other hand, in addition to considering eyewear as necessities, also increasingly now consider them as fashion accessories.
Customised spectacles made with 3D printing technology will continue to gain traction thanks to growing interest among consumers, although this type of technology remains in its infancy and is yet not widely known across the country. The technology maps faces to provide bespoke spectacles on a customer-to-customer basis.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Spectacles industry in South Korea with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Spectacles research and analysis database.
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