Eyewear Industry: Market, Share, and Trends

In 2018, the value of the global eyewear market stood at approximately 131.32 billion U.S. dollars. By 2020, it had expanded to 147.60 billion U.S. dollars. These trends project a possible CAGR (compound annual growth rate) in the eyewear industry of 8.5% between this year and 2028. With eyewear proving to be an in-thing among Gen Z and millennials, more and more manufacturers are busy producing more attractive and affordable products.

The escalating thirst for quality eyewear is proving hard to quench. This has pushed eyewear designers to produce new designs with each passing day to create a supply-demand balance. As fashion enthusiasts sweep the shelves clean, entrepreneurs are enjoying the new revenue generation opportunity. There are enough goodies to go around. Entrepreneurs attracting new customers while striving to retain their existing ones enjoy a bigger portion of the pie.

  • Introduction
  • Eyewear Insights
  • Key Players in the Eyewear Industry
  • Eyewear Industry; Current Fashion Trends 
  • Eyewear Industry; Shifts in the Consumption Patterns
  • Eyewear Industry Distribution Channels
  • Main Challenges within the Eyewear Industry
  • FAQs
  • Conclusion

Eyewear Insights

It’s the digital era! Everyone is using digital screens and mobile phones. It has, therefore, increased the spread of CVS (computer vision syndrome) globally, especially now that online learning is prevalent. As such, the spectacles sector has expanded drastically over the recent past. In 2020, this eyewear segment scoped a market share of approximately 55%. The statistics are bound to grow as bright translucent eyeglasses and clear eyewear increase in fashion popularity. On the other hand, more and more people are now using anti-glare and anti-fatigue glasses to protect their vision when using digital screens.

As technology changes, contact lenses have improved to provide enhanced aesthetics and user experience. Currently, you can find more varieties, including multifocal toric lenses and light-adaptive lenses. The new lenses have reduced dryness and irritation, not to mention that they also change swiftly to adapt to different lighting conditions.

Extra tip:

Electronic focusing eyeglasses are on the production pipeline! They offer more benefits and will take the markets by storm soon. While this type of eyewear is still in the introductory stages, all prospects show they will gain massive traction within the next few years.

Key Players in the Eyewear Industry

With spectacles becoming a popular scene globally, the eyewear industry is evolving with each passing day. The current key players include Johnson & Johnson Vision, who are working round the clock to produce contact lenses that release antihistamines. Antihistamine reduces the itching sensation to ensure a better user experience. EssilorLuxottica is also making waves by improving the functionality of its products and its overall service offering.

Other industry players to reckon with include PEL China and Sea2see Eyewear. These companies are on the frontline of mitigating climate change by promoting the use of recycled eyewear. By using recycled metal and wood to make quality eyewear, these companies prove they care about the wellness of people and environmental welfare in specific.

Other prominent players in the eyewear industry include:

  • Bausch & Lomb Inc.
  • CooperVision
  • Safilo Group S.p.A
  • Carl Zeiss AG.
  • Warby Parker
  • Charmant Group

Eyewear Industry; Current Fashion Trends 

When it comes to fashion trends, nothing is ever constant. Eyewear is today as much a fashion product as it is a practical and functional accessory. Sunglasses in specific make profound fashion statements even as they offer protection from the sun’s harmful UVB and UVA rays. See, they are not just a necessity for vision protection but also a chic accessory.

Oversized frames are big fashion internationally. However, there is also an emerging trend of people wanting eyewear built to perfectly match their skin color, nose shape, and face size. Generally, frame trends that make big fashion in certain parts of the world receive lukewarm reception in other countries. While we can debate about the in-vogue eyewear frames, the lens trends are more constant.

Here is what is currently selling like hotcakes:

  • Flat lenses 
  • Stylish spectacles
  • Prescription eyewear designed as sunglasses
  • Yesteryears eyewear designs (cat-eyed frames, round glasses, and asymmetrically designed sunglasses)
  • Eyewear with dark tones such as red, honey brown, black, and mottled yellows

Eyewear Industry; Shifts in the Consumption Patterns

Like eyewear industry fashion trends, consumer preferences are ever-changing. Here are some of the shifts in consumer consumption patterns

Changes in the Perception Of Eyewear

To begin with, today’s consumers have a different perception of eyewear. Gone are the days when spectacles only served as a tool to correct or improve vision. Today, eyewear is a lifestyle accessory and not just a clinical tool. Manufacturers understand this and have, in return, ensured buyers have more options. Notably, there is plenty to choose from, including pieces that prioritize quality over cost and give precedence to fashion over function. 

Increased Consumer Per Capita Consumption

Another noteworthy shift is in the per capita consumption of eyewear. Well, trends show that the number of spectacles owned by the average person each year has increased five times over the past half-decade. Today, people want to own a range of eyeglasses and sunglasses ideal for different occasions. Furthermore, consumers are more receptive to changing their lenses, frames, and sunglasses in tune with the changing fashion trends.

More Informed Consumers

Did we mention that it’s the digital era? Well, just about everyone has access to gadgets that allow internet connectivity. Consequently, today’s consumers are more informed. They know about the latest product choices, the best brands, and even the rapidly changing trends within the eyewear industry. Generally, the consumer base has evolved. Today, people are more aware of visual impairment statistics and the role of eyewear in reducing the risk of vision issues in old age. The availability of information has directly impacted consumers, making them more receptive to choosing high-end, top-quality products.

Eyewear Industry Distribution Channels

At the start of 2020, brick and mortar stores enjoyed an impressive 79% of the eyewear industry revenue share. The global pandemic has changed this, mainly because of the implementation of lockdowns. The e-commerce segment has, on the other hand, increased its revenue share as more people utilize online-based services for essentials.

E-commerce stores offer an enhanced consumer journey. Potential buyers can browse through a range of products and compare features, prices, and more. Most importantly, they can read the reviews of other users and leave their reviews after purchasing and using specific eyewear. This shift in the main distribution channels has led to a notable increase in online eyewear stores globally. 

Main Challenges within the Eyewear Industry

Like any other trade, the eyewear industry is not immune to challenges. Only the future will tell whether these hurdles will be addressed as time goes by. If you are looking to dive into the trade, here are just some of the issues you may face:

Unbranded Eyewear

The eyewear industry has undergone rapid expansion nearly overnight. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it has seen the birth of companies producing eyewear with run-of-the-mill performance. Even worse, over 80% of spectacles in the market are unbranded, making it challenging for consumers to differentiate top-quality eyewear from mediocre pieces.

Significant Price Differences

Organized players entering the spectacle market have more to offer. Apart from branded frames, these companies also produce their eyewear under standardized conditions that guarantee top quality. On the flip side, new unbranded lenses are popping up in just about every country. These glasses are unbranded, and the standards adhered to during production remain unknown.

As expected, there is a significant price difference between eyewear and mainly the branded and unbranded varieties. With the high thirst for affordable eyewear, a decent number of consumers are choosing “cheap” glasses over “quality” spectacles.

Online Retailers

Another challenge that cannot go without mentioning is the rapid emergence of online retailers. Again, retailing online lowers the bar, allowing anyone to sell eyewear through internet-based channels. With no benchmark for quality and zero optician-consumer interaction, there are more glasses classified as fashion accessories. Consumers have to do keen research to find practical designs meant to correct and protect their vision.

The upsurge of online retailers is not all gloom. Because more consumers are shopping online and from the comforts of their homes, social media has had a significant impact on the growth of the eyewear industry. For instance, platforms like Facebook and Instagram are proving to be influential online markets. Consumers can browse for products they like, and companies can gauge the demands and choices of their audience and use this data to their advantage.


What Is The Estimated Size Of The Eyewear Industry?

In 2020 value of the global eyewear market stood at approximately 147.60 billion USD. This year, it is expected to reach a staggering value of 157.98 billion USD. Based on the market growth trends, the global eyewear industry is expected to expand further and reach a value of 278.94 billion USD by 2028.

Which Eyewear Sector Has The Largest Market Share?

Two main factors are driving growth in the eyewear industry. First, the increase in ophthalmic disorders caused by the overuse of digital screens has increased the demand for prescription glasses.  The second is that prescription eyewear is today trendy and commonly used as a fashion accessory.

That said, the spectacle sector dominates the eyewear market. In 2020, this segment enjoyed a 74.94% revenue share. This growth is also attributable to the significant improvements in the new spectacle designs, comfort, and durability levels.

Which Region Scopes The Highest Revenue Share?

Europe is home to fashion powerhouses such as Gucci and Prada. Hence, consumers of products from these fashion labels are also keen on accessorizing fashionable eyewear. In 2020, Europe enjoyed the largest revenue share of about 37% on average.

What the Future Holds

We did in-depth market research of the eyewear industry. The information we have provided features a wealth of standardized statistics, including the market share, size, and industry trends. While many facts are debatable and bound to change soon, we can all agree that the eyewear industry is destined for greatness.

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