Where Consumers Shop for Eyewear

January 2023

As inflation hits consumers’ purchasing power, modern eyewear shoppers have increasingly demanding expectations of the products they buy. Players in the industry will have to adapt their retail strategies to remain competitive. Eyewear sales via e-commerce are likely to continue to grow post-pandemic, as consumers look for convenience and ways to control their spending. Retailers will respond by continuing to invest in technology, such as try-ons, and in developing an omnichannel presence.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

Hyperinflation to hit consumer confidence in 2023, despite significant bounce back in 2022

Despite encouraging signs of a recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers will become even more cautious than before in terms of spending, saving more if they can as they prepare for recession and continued rising costs. Retailers will have to adapt their strategies to remain competitive.

Physical stores remain a vital channel for consumers, despite rise in e-commerce

Despite the rise of e-commerce, the vast majority of retail sales (86%) still occur offline. The focus is, however, changing. Disruptive technologies and innovation will emerge to help retailers to enhance their engagement both in store and online. The industry has already begun to use digital tools, and more technological developments are expected in 2023.

Convenience and consumers’ demand for value is driving e-commerce growth and omnichannel presence

E-commerce accounted for 14% of global retail value in 2022. Growth has been driven by the evolution of consumers’ habits following the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with growing demand for convenience and value for money, as many consumers’ financial stability is more vulnerable than ever before.

As prices increase, 2023 could be a favourable year for private label brands

With the rising prices of energy, commodities and end products, private label and lower cost alternatives in the eyewear industry are likely to benefit in 2023, at the expense of established brands.

Key findings
Eyewear sees significant bounce back in value sales following the pandemic
The global economy is facing an increasingly uncertain outlook
Driven by concerns for wellness, all eyewear categories grew in 2022
North America leads sales, with Asia Pacific and Western Europe close behind
Physical stores still relevant despite the rise in e-commerce
Spectacles sees largest growth in e-commerce in eyewear
North America, Asia and Western Europe are important regions for digital expansion
Optical stores still remain the leading channel in eyewear
Discounters performer well during a period of immense financial strain
Value sales of optical good stores exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2022
The pandemic and cost of living crisis drive up National Vision Inc’s ranking
The cost of living crisis pushes consumers to look for cheap alternatives such as private label
France and the UK dominate private label in eyewear
Despite slowing growth, the US is the largest non-store retailing market
Convenience and demand for value-driven products is driving e-commerce growth
Warby Parker offers affordable lenses through new direct-to-consumer offering Scout
Contact lenses remains the category with the highest e-commerce share
Spectacles and sunglasses outperform contact lenses and solutions in 2021 and 2022
North America maintains leading position in e-commerce in 2022
Amazon Fashion’s partnership with Snap in virtual try-ons seen as threat to optical retailers
Barriers to e-commerce growth in South Korea and Taiwan
Germany offers opportunities for penetration gains in e-commerce
Global eyewear industry to exceed pre-COVID-19 levels by 2025
Economic uncertainty in Europe expected to impact business and consumers
The future of eyewear retail is a hybrid model
Gentle Monster tech-focused global flagship opens in Beijing, setting the bar for eyewear
Virtual try-ons and phygital reality are here to stay
French online retailer Polette Eyewear: A glimpse of the forthcoming phygital retail eyewear
Warby Parker’s long-term plans to increase its physical footprint in suburban areas
Gentle Monster invites consumers to a phygital experience with its Jentle Garden app
Virtual eye exams are on the way: Eesee to pilot first clinically proven online test
Molsion Glasses harnesses PR engagement through KOL marketing in China
The rise of digital health services in eyewear
More digital health services in 2023: Specsavers RemoteCare consultation service in the UK
Key takeaways


Eyewear is the aggregate of contact lenses, spectacles and sunglasses.

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