The global eyewear market mainly consists of the design, production and sale of prescription frames and sunglasses. The eyewear market, whose retail sales value was estimated at around € 51 billion in 2018, is highly competitive and extremely fragmented. Among the main players there are EssilorLuxottica, Safilo, Kering Eyewear, Marchon, Marcolin, Thelios and De Rigo. In the various markets, competition is also represented by many national, regional or local players.
Safilo believes that prescription frames and sunglasses will continue to experience future growth, due to the combination of some factors, including: (i) demographic factors, (ii) the development of emerging markets, (iii) the improvement of living standards and greater economic accessibility to some products, (iv) a shift towards branded products, of higher quality ("premiumization"), (v) a greater awareness of issues related to health and (vi) expansion of new sales channels (such as e-commerce).
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Key factors for growth include:
- Demographic factors: aging is one of the main global demographic factors that has an impact on the eyewear market. According to official sources, in 2017, 29% of the world population was over 45 years old (average age of onset of presbyopia). This percentage is expected to grow to 33% by 2030, with more than 2.6 billion potential customers in need of ophthalmic solutions related to presbyopia.
- Development of emerging markets: developing economies are expected to be one of the main drivers of growth in the eyewear industry in the coming years, not least because of the rapid rise in disposable income and the global expansion of retail operators are already generating a significant increase in the size of the eyewear market. Emerging markets, such as China, account for most of the global demand for correction tools when compared with the lower demand from Europe and North America.
- Move towards "premiumization": eyewear and, in particular, sunglasses are highly perceived as fashion accessories. Consumers choose these products also for aesthetic reasons and to enhance the features of the face. The shift towards branded frames and innovative design has contributed to reducing the average life of a pair of glasses. Moreover, the popularity of products often leads the consumer to buy more than one.
- Increased awareness of health-related issues: consumers are better informed about the importance of eye health and, in particular, the health benefits of wearing sunglasses, including the fact that, in addition to being a fashion accessory, they help protect eyes and skin from sun damage. As health becomes a status symbol, consumers are increasingly oriented towards a proactive approach to protecting it.
- Expansion of new channels: the increase in sales on the Internet and the change in consumer buying habits have meant for companies a rethink on how, when and where to reach potential customers. Consistent and innovative sales strategies have become key factors in the eyewear business.