Companies in this industry sell prescription and other eyeglasses and contact lenses; they usually include a lab on premises to grind lenses to specifications. Major companies in the US include LensCrafters and Pearle Vision (both owned by Italy's Luxottica), National Vision, and Visionworks of America, as well as Fielmann (based in Germany) and GrandVision (the Netherlands).
Demand is driven by demographics, fashion, and changing health care practices. Most important is the aging of the US population, which is increasing demand for eye exams and glasses. Large retailers enjoy economies of scale in purchasing and can offer a wider range of product styles. Small retailers can often compete successfully with large chains by offering convenient locations, specialized products, or superior service. Eyeglass purchases are mildly cyclical with the economy, as many consumers view extra glasses as an expense that can be deferred. The US industry is concentrated: the 50 largest companies generate about 70% of revenue.
PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Opticians sell eyeglasses and contact lenses in retail stores based on prescriptions written by optometrists or ophthalmologists. Often stores employ an on-site optometrist who performs eye exams; optometrists may also own and operate retail stores. Lenses and frames account for the bulk of store sales.