In the eyewear industry, it is estimated that 35 per cent of India’s population are in need of vision correction, which may be done by surgery, laser therapy, spectacles or contact lenses. However, only about 25 per cent of people have their vision corrected. Approximately 94 per cent of these wear spectacles, 6 per cent wear contact lenses and 2.5 per cent wear both.
An analysis of growth factors such as poor eye health, low penetration of contact lens, rise in organised retail and increasing awareness and brand consciousness among consumers offer huge opportunity in eyewear segment. Further, there are high margins as in certain products with overall mark ups up to 300 per cent exist between the cost and its retail price.
A near stagnant market has been converted into one of the fastest growing industries recording a 20 per cent growth annually.
Major players in the industry
The current size of optical retailing in India is estimated at Rs 2,700-3,000 crore, and is projected to grow over Rs 6,000 crore over the next five years. The split by categories is:
80 per cent
18 per cent
3 per cent
The major national players in the market are GKB opticals, Lawrence & Mayo, Titan Eye +, Vision Express-a joint venture between Reliance Retail and Pearle Europe, offering international designs and optical skills. Says Guillame Brouwet, CEO at Vision Express India, “We provide the best quality eyewear and trendiest sunglasses to suit Indian requirements. Vision Express provides the latest VX eyewear and high value certified eye care. Vision Express is a joint venture between Reliance Retail and Pearle Europe, offering international designs and optical skills. We provide the best quality eyewear and trendiest sunglasses to suit Indian requirements. Vision Express provides the latest VX eyewear and high value certified eye care. “
Fragmented set-up; Basic requirement
The eyewear market is mainly unorganised with only few organised players present in the market. Most of the stores carry multi-brands; have shop-in-shop formats.
The basic requirement for any store depends on many factors like location, store size, business targets etc. On an average for a store size of 500-600—sq feet would require a minimum investment of 20-25 lakh and with few extra services, an extra amount of 5 lakh can be added.
On the part of store design, in-store should be adopted seriously by the optical retailer to help the customers to browse the latest merchandise.
There are other services also which are attracting and boosting the sales of the business. Retailers should enhance their stores with eye testing facilities from trained optometrists and lens consultants. All ranges of latest merchandise would attract customers who demand exclusivity. For example, Himalaya Optical has also introduced sections dedicated for luxury brands of frames and sunglasses like Cartier, Mont Blanc, Prada, Horn N Wood and D&G. The stores will also have an exclusive kids’ section and a dedicated sunglass gallery for customers.
Preference for brands & International brands
In past few years, the awareness of consumer towards branded eyewear products is catching up the trend and eye care have been increasing and people are ready to spend on premium brands. There is paradigm shift in consumer purchases for eyewear from form and function to form and fashion.
In fact, sunglasses are now being looked at as a fashion device rather than a protective device with the entry of international brands like Ray Ban, Benetton, Gucci, Police, Elle, Vogue, Versace, Dior, Steppers, Hugo Boss, Armani, Levis, Esprit, Oxydo, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, Silhouette, Swarovski, Dunhill and Mont Blanc etc.
Response in tier II & II cities
Consumers in metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and other tier I cities experiment with designs. A store must house all the ranges to fulfill the need of trendy customers especially between the age group 20-28 years.
But the taste is not that similar in small cities and towns. Tier II Customer needs quality and look for more formal and classic designs.
Challenges & Growth prospects
The spectacle market remains highly unbranded — only 20 per cent of the market is branded. One-fourth of the sales for spectacles are through opticians/doctors — this emerges as an important channel for any player entering into the spectacles category.
The key challenges identified in this industry are
- lack of penetration in rural areas
- high import duty
- price gap between branded & unbranded frames.
As the government policies become more liberal, aggressive marketing strategies play their part, the market has immense potential to penetrate in different parts of the country.