The spectacles category is bouncing back in 2021 thanks to optical shops being open for customers as well as the strengthening appeal of e-commerce. Home seclusion continues to influence demand during 2021, not only for home office workers, but also for children and older students engaged in remote learning.
The closure of non-essential stores due to lockdown measures introduced by the government in response to COVID-19 in Switzerland in Q2 2020 has had a notable negative impact on demand through the dominant distribution channel of optical shops. While consumers of readymade reading glasses were able to purchase these products from essential retailers such as chemists/pharmacies, an increasing number of spectacles consumers who knew their prescription and still wanted to purchase spectacles made the switch to e-commerce, a continuation of a trend noted over the review period.
Essilor (Suisse) SA maintained its leadership of spectacles in 2020, offering spectacle lenses with well-known brands such as Varilux and Essilor. The global merger of Essilor with luxury spectacle frames and sunglasses producer Luxottica to form EssilorLuxottica SA in 2018 had already caused concerns amongst smaller independent opticians that the eyewear giant may use its strength to persuade opticians to buy its eyewear in a single package, pushing up the prices of spectacle lenses and frames.
The Swiss spectacles category is expected to see its current value sales return to pre-COVID-19 levels by the end of 2024. Despite the impact of COVID-19 on trading conditions and the rising popularity of daily disposable contact lenses, there is still huge potential for spectacles, as Switzerland’s population is ageing at one of the fastest rates in Europe.
The spectacle frames category is set to experience increasing polarisation over the forecast period, with luxury brands becoming increasingly affordable due to the expansion of pure online retailers such as Mister Spex, strengthened by a switch to this channel during the lockdown. At the same time, optical shops are increasingly offering good-quality mid-priced products (Viu) or private label options.
Value sales of spectacle lenses could be supported towards the end of the forecast period by the increasing trend in Switzerland for progressive lenses, with the latter continuing to gain value share in 2021, outperforming bifocal and trifocal, and the dominant single vision. Progressive spectacle lenses are likely to continue to gain in popularity driven by digital lifestyles and demographic development as they provide a comfortable solution to maintaining clear vision at all distances.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Spectacles industry in Switzerland 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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