Global Eyewear Market - An insight of the aggressively changing product dynamics

Published Date: July 24, 2017    Author: Satarupa De

With the culmination of nearly two decades in the 21st century, the contribution of eyewear market toward global economy has been rather commendable. Investors are betting big on the business of eyewear manufacturing, with its growing popularity of late. Sources estimate that this global industry encompassing frames, contact lenses, and plano glasses will record a massive valuation of nearly USD 165 billion by the end of 2022. Demographic challenges along with increasing incidences of visual deficiencies will continue to primarily drive the global growth of eyewear market in the years ahead. In this regard, it is important to note that over the years, the dynamics of eyewear industry have undergone a massive change in terms of demand. From age borne vision disorders to cosmetic concerns, the market has witnessed an emergence of novel eye care trends, leaving a subsequent impact on eyewear industry share. Of late, however, eyeglasses are no longer confined in the medical space as prerequisite healthcare products, but have turned out to be fashion accessories.

Global Eyewear Market - An insight of the aggressively changing product dynamics


Over the years, eyewear market has established its geographical presence across the world, yet in the process of digging older records, experts claim that this industry has its roots in 12th century Italy. Even today, Italy is considered to be the undisputed leader in the eyewear market, with 80% of the renowned eyewear brands centered in the country. In fact, Luxottica, one of the giants in eyewear industry that owns a portfolio of brands like Ray-Ban and Persol, is an Italian company. Clearly, the market is expanding its territory across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, subject to the development of macroeconomic conditions that have resulted in the middle-class population gaining increased access to reputed brands. To capitalize on the growing trends, top biggies engaged in eyewear market have been widening their business scope and are likely to continue expanding their presence over 2017-2024.

Eyewear industry is witnessing a renewed prominence across both, the developing as well as developed economies. The increasing proliferation of advanced eyewear models in the former will create a pathway for upgraded living standards, whereas, in advanced nations, the market is characterized by product innovations, exports, and increased productivity. However, the scaling up of permanent vision correction techniques like LASIK and PRK is expected to introduce challenges in the growth trajectory of eyewear market.  Statistics depict that nearly 2.5 billion of the global population need vision correction, which in a way is a threat for eyewear market players. Nonetheless, to sustain in this competitive landscape, it is essential that an analysis of the powerful trends shaping the market is conducted by eyewear industry players. As is the case in most other emerging businesses, product quality and costs will continue to be the major drivers influencing the market outlook.


Provided below are some detailed insights about the product landscape of eyewear industry:

Spectacles based eyewear market

Global demand of eyewear market will continue to be driven by spectacles, on grounds of the fact that spectacles covered 55% of the overall revenue in 2016. The onset of the third millennium has witnessed a plethora of trends and styles, eyeglasses being no exception. The global eyewear market has been experiencing a reinstatement of the yesteryears, which is evident from the changing consumer inclination toward round glasses and cat-eyed frames. However, the situation is likely to flip slightly in the coming years, subject to the hygiene concerns and huge product cost that is leading majority of the consumers to opt for contact lenses instead of spectacles. Nonetheless, players are conjuring up new strategies for cost optimization.

Plano sunglasses eyewear market

Spreading consumer awareness pertaining to eye health is providing a positive impetus to plano sunglasses market demand, which is likely to exceed USD 26 billion by the end of 2023. These glasses are fitted with non-prescriptive lenses which protect eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays.  In a recent study, the American Optometric Association stated that prolonged exposure to UV rays which increase the threat of macular degeneration can be combated by sunglasses with high eye protection factor (EPF).

Polarization technology is also gaining a traction in the aesthetic eyewear market, due to associated benefits such as reduced glare. A significant portion of the humongous sales volume of polarized sunglasses can be credited to the fact that these glasses are a fashion statement. However, they are also one of the most preferred choices in certain targeted arenas, which will subsequently lead to their increased commercialization.

The fragmented commercial landscape of plano sunglasses eyewear market is also evident from the changing trends in the usage of material deployed in the manufacturing of these glasses. CR-39, polyurethane, and polycarbonate are three predominant materials that will experience a surging demand in the market. CR-39 and polycarbonate based glasses are expected to procure the majority of the overall volume by 2022. Cost effectiveness is one of the prime factors that will allow an increase in the penetration of CR-39 Plano sunglasses among a larger section of the population. Speaking of geographical trends, Europe and North America witnessed a strong command over the global eyewear industry from this domain in the year 2016, and will continue to remain key contenders for the market share over the next five years.

Contact lens eyewear market

Of late, contact lens have become an effective solution for correcting normal vision problems and have effectively replaced conventional corrective glasses, subject to their aesthetic appeal. In many nations, it is designated as a medical device. Though the emergence of contact lens eyewear market has spanned centuries, the market has been gaining renewed attention only since the past few years. Notably, soft lenses and daily disposable lenses introduced in the early twentieth century have completely revolutionized the market dynamics. A shifting trend toward daily disposable lens has been observed lately, owing to its cost affordability over longer duration and ease of usage. Among other categories, RGP contact lens market is expected to carve an appreciable growth at a CAGR of 5% over 2015-2022. The United States eyewear market, being highly consumer driven, will observe an immense growth prospect in this segment. As per the statistics recorded by CDC in 2015, more than 40 million U.S. adults used contact lenses back then. The number is slated to increase exponentially over the years ahead, thereby carving out a positive growth path for this product.

Regulatory environment

Several regulatory compliances imposed by some of the renowned state and federal organizations have left a significant impact on eyewear industry outlook.  For instance, the FDA, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and Federal Trade Commission have jurisdiction over the regulations of medical devices. Two such medical devices include reading glasses and non-prescription sunglasses, which are designated as Class 1 medical devices. In addition to this, certain voluntary standards have been set lately on reading glasses, both nationwide and internationally. Recently, the FDA has exempted most of the class 1 devices from all the pre-market notification issues, yet, as per the norms, manufacturers and traders must report to the FDA annually.

Global eyewear industry is characterized by a multi-tiered structure including import agents, wholesalers, distributors, dealers, and retailers, depending on the market size. To understand the business model that is highly fragmented, diverse, complex, and price sensitive, new entrants in the market need to focus on building an effective distribution channel. Opticians hold a key influence on the market dynamics, as majority of the consumers lack proper know-how about the brands, quality and origin of the products, and are known to blindly follow the opticians’ guidance. However, considering that the global population has crossed the 7 billion benchmark, out of which more than 60% are likely to use these vision corrective devices, it is certain that there is sufficient room for the growth of eyewear market in the years ahead.

Global Market Insights, Inc. has a report titled “Eyewear Market Size By Product (Spectacles [Lens, Frame], Contact Lenses [RGP, Soft, Hybrid], Plano Sunglasses), Industry Outlook Report, Regional Analysis, Application Potential, Price Trends, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2015 – 2022” available at


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