Sales of sunglasses are weather-dependent, and recorded modest growth in 2019 due to an inclement pre-summer season. Bad weather deterred consumers from purchasing sunglasses during the period March to June, when high-end and premium sales are typically made.
Whilst sales in the dynamic internet retailing channel are growing strongly, the number of optical shops going into payment default in 2018 (bankruptcy, settlement or liquidation) was up compared with previous year (132 in 2018 vs 119 in 2017). The context of a general slowdown in activity was exacerbated by the yellow vests movement.
Sunglasses are becoming increasingly fashionable, which allows brands to attract new customers in search of affordable luxury fashion. As seen by fashion models wearing sunglasses during shows, their status has evolved from accessory to fashion staple.
Italian-designed sunglasses strongly dominate the French market, thanks to Luxottica, Safilo and Marcolin, which held a combined share of two thirds of value sales in 2018. However, Morel, a historical domestic manufacturer of glasses, established in 1880, has been able to evolve and grow as an independent niche brand, selling over 250,000 pairs of sunglasses worldwide per year.
Tseegan is an independent new brand in sunglasses. This is a French brand which offers luxury sunglasses which are an eclectic combination of bohemian style and urban chic, with a hint of eccentricity.
To combat the creation of EssilorLuxottica and luxury groups regaining control of their eyewear collections, Safilo unveiled its new strategy in 2019. The company underperformed in sunglasses in France in 2017, but saw a slight recovery in 2018.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our sunglasses market research database.