Western Europe remains one of the big three regional markets for spectacles, just behind North America and still ahead of the dynamic Asia Pacific region. It is characterised by an ageing population as well as high levels of digital device use, ensuring that it will continue growing over the forecast period. Another growth driver will be the rising use of spectacles as a fashion accessory, with consumers increasingly owning more than one pair of glasses to suit different occasions.
Western Europe still sits just behind North America as the second biggest regional market for spectacles, with sales of USD26.5 billion in 2019, recording growth of 1% over a year earlier as well as annually over 2014-2019 (CAGR). Further growth will be seen in 2019-2024, driven by an ageing population, generally rising levels of myopia, presbyopia and hyperopia, and the increasing use of spectacles as a fashion item or accessory.
Internet retailing continued to grow as a distribution channel for spectacles, reaching 6% of the Western European market with its sales of USD1.6 billion in 2019. Further strong growth in online sales of spectacles is expected over the forecast period, with consumers looking for more convenient and cheaper ways to buy their eyewear products.
Although the merger between Essilor and Luxottica naturally stole the headlines, the new entity has continued to expand both organically and through acquisitions. For example, by taking over Brille 24 Handel in Germany, Essilor will move up to fourth place in the region’s biggest market, and one of the few in Western Europe in which it is not the leading player. Generally, spectacles experienced concentration of its competitive landscape over the review period, with Essilor, Carl Zeiss and private label among the big winners.
With an expanding and generally ageing population as well as no let-up expected in the use of digital appliances, 2020-2024 will continue to see growth in spectacles in Western Europe, with 1.5% value and volume CAGRs. Western Europe will actually become the biggest region for spectacles sales in 2023, even if it is likely to relinquish this title to Asia Pacific shortly afterwards.
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