In the past, the eyewear industry was more or less insulated from economic downturns, as eyewear was deemed a stable commodity product. That changed as eyewear grew into a fashion product and more prone to the whims of consumers and the ups and downs of economic markets. The big question is whether consumers will purchase fashionable brand name eyewear in the midst of an economic crisis as seemingly more pressing demands are at hand. Eyewear stores across the United States had already seen the effects of the economic downturn with many stores reporting significant drop offs in store traffic at the end of 2008. And by the end of first quarter 2009, some underperforming stores had been closed and manufacturing plants were idled.
Though the market for eyewear in the U.S. grew at an annual rate of eight percent between 2004 and 2008, growth in 2008 was much more subdued at less than four percent. For the eyewear industry, an ongoing consumer paradigm shift in attitudes towards more frugality and less conspicuous consumption means high-flying fashion brands may suffer at the expense of less expensive alternatives. But can the major marketers and retailers adapt?
The U.S. Eyewear Market: Prescription and Nonprescription Lenses, Sunglasses, Contact Lenses, and Frames, 2nd Edition examines these questions and others by looking at the current market, trends, major brands, and consumer preferences. The report presents concise, thought provoking analyses of various aspects of the eyewear industry and provides a forecast for the market through 2013.
Read an excerpt from this report below.Report Methodology
The information presented in this report was obtained from primary and secondary research. Primary research entailed on-site examination of eyewear products in retail stores and consultations with eyewear industry observers and executives. Secondary research involved canvassing information and articles appearing in financial, marketing, and trade publications, company literature, and independent research reports, plus reviews of websites, blogs and readers’ comments posted on these sites.
Other sources consulted for The U.S. Eyewear Market were the U.S. Census Bureau’s Economic Census (1997, 2002, and 2007), Annual Survey of Manufacturers, Advanced Monthly Sales for Retail and Foodservice and the Annual Retail Trade Survey. Other market data sources included the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC).
The analysis of consumer behavior and demographics is based on data from the Simmons Market Research Bureau (New York NY) Spring 2008 and Summer 2008 Study of Media and Markets, which is based on the responses of over 20,000 adults age 18 and over.
About the Author
Cogitamus Consulting is a branding and market research boutique in NYC that's all about hard work, imagination and common sense. Working with our clients, we custom tailor solutions and provide creative, thought-provoking analysis that address the most pertinent questions facing marketers, through general business consulting, white papers, and branded product concept and strategy development.
Market Insights: A Selection From The Report
Retail is Major Point of Sale
Broadly speaking, eyewear is sold through two different industries. Most product is sold through various retail channels such as optical goods stores, the Internet, and more recently warehouse clubs (i.e. Costco) and supercenter stores (i.e. Wal-Mart). Packaged Facts estimates that in 2008, 71% of all eyewear sold in the United States was bought through some sort of retail outlet. That’s down half a percentage point from 2007, but up significantly from 67% in 2004. The tick down in retail share was due to slower growth on more discretionary eyewear (i.e. sunglasses, extra pairs) sold mostly through retail.
The other 29% of eyewear is sold by health care service providers, primarily optometrists, but also ophthalmologists. A very small, unquantifiable portion of eyewear is also sold through various institutions such as clinics and hospices. Eyewear sold through optometrists and the like consist almost entirely of prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses.
Optical Goods Stores, Supercenters Leading Retail Outlets
In terms of more specific channels, optical goods stores such as Pearl Vision and Sunglass Hut accounted for 44% of the total eyewear market with optometrists, the second largest segment, at 23%. Warehouse clubs such as Costco, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Sam’s Club as well as supercenters such as Wal-Mart and Target Stores accounted for 10%. Ophthalmologists and other health care service providers made up an estimate seven percent. Department stores such as Sears accounted for five percent with health & personal care stores (other than optical goods stores) at four percent. The Internet, clothing stores, sporting goods stores and other miscellaneous outlets each accounted for about two percent of total retail sales.
Top Eyewear Companies Worldwide
On a global wholesale basis, Packaged Facts estimates Italy-based Luxottica ranks as the largest manufacturer of eyewear products by net sales (U.S. dollars) with 15% of the global market. The company holds one of the most extensive house brand sunglass portfolios that include Ray-Ban, Oakley, and Revo, and also has one of the largest licensed brand portfolios.
France-based Essilor holds 13% of the global wholesale market for eyewear and is the world’s largest eyeglass lens manufacturers and marketers. At 10% of the global eyewear market is contact lens manufacturer and marketer U.S.-based Johnson & Johnson Vision Care with its Vistakon unit that manufacturers the Acuvue brand of contact lenses.
Fashionable, Affordable Eyewear Emerges as Ultimate Accessory for Cost-Savvy Consumers
New York, May 26, 2009 - For the foreseeable fashion future, eyewear will emerge as one of the less expensive ways for economical consumers to assert a personal design aesthetic and satisfy the urge for high-end labels, according to The U.S. Eyewear Market: Prescription and Nonprescription Lenses, Sunglasses, Contact Lenses, and Frames, 2nd Edition, the latest report from leading market research publisher Packaged Facts.
“Eyewear is a huge and increasingly diversified business driven by a host of health, demographic, lifestyle and fashion trends,” says Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts. “Sunglasses and other types of eyewear have become viable accessories on par with fashion staples such as handbags.”
The global eyewear market enjoyed a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9% for the 2004-2008 period. However, consumer aversion to copious spending on discretionary products caused the market to decline 2% in 2008 and finish below $64 billion compared to more than $65 billion in 2007, when the market gained 15% over the prior-year period.
Packaged Facts forecasts the global eyewear market will rebound by 2010 and grow at a CAGR of 1.4% to exceed $68 billion by 2013. A full return to normalized annual growth rates of between 3% and 6% are forecast to begin during the latter half of the 2008-2013 period.
Technological innovation is crucial to the advent of new eyewear products that will entice consumers. Eyewear made from more flexible, durable, and color-fast high-tech materials such as the lightweight plastic TR 90 or titanium are at the innovation apex. These materials offer consumers eyewear introductions with Bluetooth, MP3 players, or USB keys built into the frames. Other innovations address more serious eyecare concerns such as the problem of computer-related eye strain for heavy users of digital technology.
The U.S. Eyewear Market: Prescription and Nonprescription Lenses, Sunglasses, Contact Lenses, and Frames, 2nd Edition provides insights into the major challenges and trends affecting the eyewear industry, in addition to a comprehensive analysis of consumer usage demographics. The report examines the market size and projections for future growth as well as presenting in-depth competitive comparisons. The analysis, while capturing the performance highlights of major eyewear categories in terms of revenue and share for 2004-2008, also provides projections for the period 2009-2013.
About Packaged Facts - Packaged Facts, a division of Market Research Group, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer industries, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.