The eyewear market in India is saturated with both well-established and modern eyewear brands. The need to distinguish themselves from the competition has led many eyewear brands in India to embrace licensing strategies. Their goal is to strengthen their brand connection with consumers and align with the concept of building a community.
According to Statista, in 2024, the revenue generated in the eyewear market of India is estimated to be $6.10 billion. It is anticipated that the market will grow at an annual rate of 7.54 percent, representing a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 2024 and 2028. On the other hand, the revenue in the sunglasses market in India amounts to US$1.64bn and is projected to grow annually by 7.74% (CAGR 2024-2028). By 2028, the sunglasses market is expected to have a volume of 149.4m pieces.
The French multi-national lensmaker- EssilorLuxottica, In India, its manufacturing operations is twofold. One — a frame manufacturing facility in Rajasthan, Bhiwadi, which produces Ray-Ban and more — which caters to the Indian domestic market, primarily for the Indian military, and so on. Second, it has over 85 labs in India for the purpose of coating the lenses and produces close to a million lenses annually.
The brand's portfolio includes Ray-Ban, Oakley, Persol, Oliver Peoples, Vogue Eyewear, Arnette, Alain Mikli, Costa, Native Eyewear and Bolon. Prestigious licensed brands are also part of the EssilorLuxottica family, including Giorgio Armani, Brunello Cucinelli, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Dolce&Gabbana, Ferrari, Michael Kors, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Starck Biotech Paris, Swarovski, Tiffany&Co., Tory Burch and Versace. The brand made a significant growth in the Indian market.
Challenging the Cluttered Market
The Indian eyewear market generated $5.58 billion of revenue in 2023 while if compared to the revenue of the US market which generated $30.88 billion in 2023. In India, 80 percent of the eyewear market is controlled by unorganized segment. Major brands in India are banking on the huge market potential with an idea to make a mark in the organized segment.
Ganko India acquired the rights for Nickelodeon characters to launch eyewear products for children in 2012. The SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and Garfield are iconic brands that resonate with children every day through content on the Nickelodeon channel on TV. Dia Kothari, Marketing Head, Ganko India, explained, "These brand icons are very fun, educative, and vibrant, and children love to associate and connect with these characters. This affinity has helped us position Nick Eyewear as the 'Must Have' eyewear for every household. Sales for well-known licensed brands like Nick Eyewear make it easier to position and sell in this challenging and already cluttered eyewear segment."
Kothari further stated, "These products contribute a significant share to our eyewear business, as the brand name provides us with a USP and differentiating X factor for selling this branded eyewear to children. It has helped us to create a niche for Ganko in the premium eyewear category for children across India."
Fostering Sense of Identity
Opium recently launched limited edition sunglasses with Marvel’s Captain America theme, having earlier introduced products around Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. For Opium, licensing eyewear products contribute 8 percent to the overall revenue.
Moreover, Opium has previously licensed Park Avenue, Provogue, and recently acquired the license for Royal Enfield. The licensed eyewear products contribute 3-4 percent to the overall Indian eyewear industry.
Elaborating further, Ronak Sheth, Founder, Opium Eyewear, said, "We worked in collaboration with Anaita Shroff Adajania a couple of years ago and have been licensing Marvel characters for the last two years. Acquiring licenses for iconic characters like Marvel’s Captain America enhances Opium’s brand by injecting excitement and interest. These characters serve as alter egos for consumers, fostering a sense of identity and community. The limited-edition nature of these collaborations positions Opium as a trendsetter and creates desirability in the market."
Sheth added, "From a business perspective, these limited-edition collaborations command a higher price point, attracting a discerning clientele and introducing Opium to a new customer base. Acquiring licenses for iconic characters strategically positions our products as exclusive collectibles, contributing to increased revenue and brand appeal."
Creating a Trend
Fastrack recently introduced its Thor-themed watches, having previously launched collections for Batman, Wonder Woman, Coke, Game of Thrones, and Marvel. Additionally, it unveiled the Cerame collection, catering to young customers who desire evolved fashion and premium looks.
Ajay Maurya, Head of Marketing and Product, Fastrack, stated, "The retail industry in India is moving incredibly fast in the premium space, whether in Fashion or Electronics. Brands are catering to an audience willing to spend, as long as the products are differentiated and have a luxe appearance. In terms of creating an aspirational identity and social signaling, especially in the realm of fashion, consumers are considering global design aesthetics and want to experiment with those looks without having to pay international prices. Hence, many brands are jumping in to cater to this need."
Maurya further emphasized, "Brands like us benefit from such collaborations by connecting to new communities built around new fashion and fandoms. These collaborations help a brand bring in new consumers across sub-cultures. Moreover, limited edition products build aspiration and buzz around collections."