Technology and product innovation

In addition to long-term socio-economic drivers, the global eyewear market is experiencing a number of product-driven trends. These include:

Shift to higher value eyewear products

Increasing consumer awareness and penetration of technical innovations in the eyewear market is strengthening demand for higher value eyewear products. These innovations include both the quality of lens material as well as those relating to functionality and design features (e.g. progressive, light, thin, antireflective, shockproof, photochromic, scratch resistant, anti-dirt, anti-fog, polarized and ultraviolet protective lenses).

In addition, the need for vision correction increases in complexity as a person ages. These higher value products generally command higher retail prices and wider profit margins, but they also require increased service levels. Some recent product innovations are introduced in the case study "Introducing new technologies for our customers' benefit".

Growth of the contact lens category

The global market for contact lenses, particularly disposable ones, is increasing rapidly and creating shorter repurchase cycle through the shift to daily or monthly disposable contact lenses. The average annual spend for contact lenses is higher per customer than it is for prescription glasses. In addition, contact lens customers also tend to purchase prescription glasses and sunglasses. Overall consumer engagement is also higher. However, the share of contact lenses as a proportion of total eyewear sales still varies considerably across different markets.

Demand for high quality sunglasses

The growth of the sunglass market is driven by a growing awareness of the potential harm caused by ultraviolet radiation, the popularity of sunglasses as a fashion item and greater demand for prescription sunglasses. However, the penetration of eyesight protection from ultraviolet radiation still remains relatively low in both mature and emerging markets. As awareness increases, the demand for high-quality sunglasses, such as the ultraviolet protective prescription sunglasses we offer under the Solaris banner, is also expected to grow. Ongoing innovations in design and lens technology, including light weight, polarized and flash lenses are contributing to shorter average repurchase cycles.