Now I See you, Now I Don’t
The global eye wear market is expected to continue to grow at the steady rate of about 3.5% over the next decade.
Purchases of sunglass will ride on increased awareness of the dangers of UV exposure, need for eyesight correction that affects the baby boomer generation and the increasingly positioning of these accessories as must wear fashion items. Eyeglasses are more and more being used as a fashion accessory and a matching item that highlights outfits, while enhancing the attractiveness of a given personality.
Essilor, Luxottica, Carl Zeiss, Safilo, Marcolin and Marchon are industry leaders. Luxottica and Essilor have a dominant position in the markets with a wide global distribution that allows them to ceaselessly innovate without fearing enhanced competition. As a result, they maintain their lead while rivals must move fast to preserve their market position. (see attached table). Luxottica’ global leadership seats on a US $ 9bn in sales and a manufacturing and distribution platform comprising 78,000 employees. Luxottica owns the high-end Ray-Ban and Oakley brands and the retail chain Sunglass Hut while manufacturing Armani, Prada and Chanel among many other sunglasses.
World population growth should serve as expansionary wave for the eyewear industry for the coming decades. However other factors need to be considered in what could be an extraordinary growth wave over this decade. Of the 7.3bn people in the world today, 63 per cent are considered to be in need of vision correction, but only 1.9bn have purchased glasses, contact lenses or surgery. More than 2.5bn are still in need, particularly in Asia, Africa and Latin America, according to industry data.
This creates several new possibilities and opportunities for eyeglass manufacturers and retailers. Add to this mix the already large base of aging population of over 45 years with poor eye vision and symptoms of presbyopia and the impact upon demand for eyeglasses could be huge. Finally, there is still another factor pushing eyewear sales up. Internet has proven to be as a potent vehicle for selling eyeglasses and is expected to expand retailing reach worldwide. Fashionable plastic products have driven prices down to allow access to these products to emerging middle classes.
Consequently, developed markets such as the US and Europe that up to now have been top revenue contributors to eyeglasses market, are forecast to be paired by emerging markets by 2030. Asia-Pacific and Latin America are the most promising emerging markets. Asia-Pacific region especially is the fastest growing regional market in terms of sales.
With the strong bounce back that aviator glasses are having in terms of fashion trendsetting, metal eyewear frames could push market sales even further as they widely differ from prevailing styles that favored tortoise shell and black or brown plastic. Fashionable ladies will thus need to trash their current eyewear and get themselves the thin and sparsely built aviators.