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Spectacles in Western Europe

December 2019

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.

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Key findings

One of the major regions globally

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 continues to grow

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.

Essilor remains on its expansion course

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.

Steady growth to make Western Europe the biggest region for sales of spectacles

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.


Key findings

Regional Overview

Ageing society ensures ongoing growth
Importance of eye health for Western Europeans will keep sales moving
Germany the main growth driver for Western Europe as a whole
Germany accounts for half of new sales in 2014-2019
Lenses dominate additional sales in all countries bar Turkey
Ageing populations, fashion and tech prove key to growth
Optical shops still the dominant distribution channel
Convenience and value help internet retailing to continue growing

Leading Companies and Brands

Increasing concentration seen in the competitive landscape
Essilor makes major regional gains
Fielmann continues to rely heavily on its home market
No major movement other than further share gains for the leaders

Forecast Projections

Steady growth will help Western Europe become the biggest region
The UK will drive growth as France stagnates

Country Snapshots

France: market Context
France: competitive and Retail Landscape
Germany: market Context
Germany: competitive and Retail Landscape
Italy: market Context
Italy: competitive and Retail Landscape
Netherlands: market Context
Netherlands: competitive and Retail Landscape
Spain: market Context
Spain: competitive and Retail Landscape
Sweden: market Context
Sweden: competitive and Retail Landscape
Switzerland: market Context
Switzerland: competitive and Retail Landscape
Turkey: market Context
Turkey: competitive and Retail Landscape
UK: market Context
UK: competitive and Retail Landscape

Appendix: Competitor Analytics

Competitor Analytics tool
Market overlap
Overlap matrices


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