Spotlight on Luxury Eyewear: Navigating its Complex Operating Environment

December 2018

Recent years saw some of the toughest ever trading conditions for luxury eyewear. New disruptive business models are evolving and more aggressive competition across distribution channels is evident. Whilst many leading luxury players are investing more in getting their in-house models right and are making brave moves by stepping away from licensing models, as well as wholesale agreements, others are looking to optimise and strengthen their partnerships with licensors and eyewear manufacturers.

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Key Findings

Changes in licence models in luxury eyewear

New licence and business models are evolving that will continue to disrupt luxury eyewear. The industry is going through a period of strategic transition, with many leading luxury companies bringing more of their business in-house. This is impacting luxury fashion houses, licensees and retailers alike.

M&A continue to create further disruption in eyewear

After a period of heightened M&A activity, luxury eyewear companies continue to bet on acquisitions to expand their product or brand portfolios and tap into other market segments, as well as diversify their operations and widen both their distribution and demographic reach.

Consumers are driving corporate strategies

The popularity of streetwear and the return of consumers’ affinity for logos is helping to lift sales of luxury eyewear. Prescription frames and sunglasses alike enable consumers to both wear designer logos and serve a practical purpose at a more favourable price point.

Experiential luxury

Creating experiences that surround the brand through the customer journey acts as a tool against declining loyalty. Luxury eyewear brands and retailers are embracing their fun and creative side, looking to optimise the services they provide to consumers, and are moving further towards full-blown immersive experiences.

Luxury eyewear is following sustainable models

Consumer attitudes are shifting in the right direction, with many luxury consumers now seeking to have a positive impact on the environment. Luxury brands are deploying technology to instigate behavioural change and reward sustainable actions.


Key findings

Global Outlook in Luxury Eyewear

Luxury eyewear in the context of the global luxury goods market
Luxury eyewear posts a positive performance in 2018
North America retains the highest share, further exposing eyewear giants
Non-luxury eyewear is losing share to the luxury segment
Disruptors shaping the luxury eyewear landscape
Luxury eyewear corporates shift the needle through strategic change

Leading Companies and Brands

The top 10 luxury players are clear determinants of the health of eyewear
Changes in the licensing model shake up the competitive landscape
Swings and roundabouts for leading global luxury eyewear players
Luxottica’s sales are weighed down further by fluctuating exchange rates
Safilo Group is also experiencing growing pains
Can luxury eyewear learn from premium beauty?

Key Trends Shaping the Industry

Smaller niche players make inroads, creating further competition
Ethically-driven eyewear continues to be a force to be reckoned with
Archibald London’s sustainability model creates further waves




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