As they say, “it’s not always about how you look, but about how you see.” Betting on the quote, Indian eyewear market, over the past 5 years, has grown at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of almost 28 per cent. With a significant shift happening in almost every vertical of retail, eyewear market too has transitioned from being health centric segment into being more fashion centric beat. This dramatic shift in consumer behaviour has surely uplifted the demand of branded and luxury product that has played a crucial role in boosting the overall growth revenue of eyewear market over the last 5 years.
According to a latest report by Euromonitor International, India is touted to be THE leader in top-ten fastest growing eyewear market during 2016 to 2021 fiscal followed by UAE, Thiland, Malaysia, China and others. Despite the dominance of leading eyewear brands in the organised fragment, the market is largely driven by the revenue of a huge number of manufacturers in the unorganised segment. Companies like Ray-Ban, Fastrack and Oakley got tremendous response in the late 2012 and this was the inception of a well defined eyewear market in the country.
As per a survey, six out of ten people in today’s time wear spectacle, contact lenses or have undergone corrective eye surgery. Talking to a leading daily, Paul K J Manvettom, General Secretary, All-Kerala Optical Association, said that with the increased usage of computer and other gadgets, more people are forced to use spectacles now. With the growing disposable income, educated Indian consumers are becoming more and more concerned about their eye health. This makes them spend more on a good pair of spectacles which has further resulted in the boom of the industry.
Millennial consumers have been the major catalyst in the expansion of eyewear market as they are increasingly accepting contact lens, freestyle spectacles etc. The demand of coloured contact lens rose in 2015 which resulted in entry for many new players offering such trend-driven products at reasonable price points. Looking at the trend, eyewear market is touted to grow in the coming years as large numbers of consumers are now switching to branded products. “With higher demands for functional eyewear, such as office lenses, progressive lenses and digital devices lenses, competition is toughening for the leading players as more low-cost providers are introducing lower quality products marketed to provide similar functions at a much lower price,” said Anna Cheng, Eyewear Industry Analyst, Euromonitor International.
The eCommerce Wave
Expanding its horizon, the online retail landscape has embarked its presence in the eyewear market too. However, eCommerce currently nabs a very minimal pie of the overall eyewear market. But figures have changed at a brisk rate in the past 3-5 years. With the inception of online eyewear retailers such as Lenskart.com, GKB Opticals and others, the sector is likely to experience new wave of innovation and competition to take on traditional retailers. As online retailing is all about giving consumers a better and a seamless shopping experience, these online retailers have successfully managed to disrupt the market with concepts such as 3D trail feature, claim your frame for free and others. As per industry pundits, the eyewear market will grow same as fashion and style accessories in the years to come. Betting on the fact, players in this segment are rerouting themselves on the online path. Many offline brands including Ray Ban, Himalaya Opticals, Titans Eyeplus now sells their products on some of country’s leading eCommerce portals including Myntra, Snapdeal and Amazon. Eyewear as a product is an extremely personal experience and a fairly complex market. Both online and offline models need a thorough calculation. “Online medium provides accessibility to consumer and enables one to try different styles and products at the click of a button but it fails to provide that touch and feel experience to consumers. Offline medium assists the consumer in understanding the brand better. It also aids building trust on the brand but on the downside physical stores are only accessible to people living in the vicinity,” said Piyush Bansal, Co-Founder, Lenskart.
Major Growth Drivers:
i. Growing urbanisation
ii. Acceptance of eyewear products (contact lenses, eye-glasses, sun-glasses etc)
iii. Internet penetration and increasing pie of organised retail
iv. Increasing usage of corrective eyewear
v. Poor eye health
vi. Usage of smartphones in tier II and III cities of the country
vii. The Omni- channel play
viii. Increasing fashion sense in masses
The demand of eyewear is increasing globally. Sunglasses that were earlier used as a protective device are now being looked as a style statement. With the entry of international brands and inception of modern format of retailing, the eyewear industry is poised to nab spectacular growth in the years to come. Indian consumerism lies in millennial youth and people are becoming more and more brand conscious. Gone are the days, when people changed their glasses twice or thrice in their lifetime today a teenager on an average changes 1 pair a year and older people do it in 2-3 years.