Rising consumer awareness of eye health, combined with ageing populations with myopia and presbyopia are driving value growth for eyewear globally, led by Asia Pacific. As a result of Coronavirus, more discretionary eyewear, mainly sunglasses, is expected to underperform in comparison to more essential eye care categories, such as spectacles. The industry is also seeing an acceleration of the e-commerce shift, supported by the adoption of digital tools, such as virtual try-on and tele-optometry.
Beyond sustainability initiatives, consumers will demand from eyewear companies to also be purpose-driven, to support social initiatives and local communities. For example, during the pandemic EssilorLuxottica has donated over two million units of protective gear to frontline workers across the world.
Increasingly, eyewear players will be expected to deploy digital services to replicate virtually their in-store offer. Examples include the likes of US company Warby Parker, offering virtual and home try-ons for free, catering to consumers increasingly staying at home and preferring virtual try-ons to avoid contact.
Historically overreliant on the single retailing channel of optical shops, the eyewear industry will have to invest in a more omnichannel approach. While brands should invest in upping their e-commerce capabilities, developing digital tools alongside will also prove essential.
COVID-19 has accelerated digitalisation, moving beyond transactional websites only towards digital health and remote eye care, to answer the need for accessibility, convenience and immediacy of treatment. Increasingly, offering virtual consultations, mimicking the in-store experience and services will be key.
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