UK contact lens market sees growth

Figures from the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers and EuromContact showed that the contact lens market in the UK reached £360 million last year

A contact lens rests on a woman’s forefinger.
The Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM) has shared that the size of the contact lens market in the UK reached £360 million in 2023.

This represents an increase in the size of the market of 5.6% from 2022, with the ACLM reporting that the UK market is the largest of all countries in the survey, accounting for around 19% of wearers.

There are more than 3.9 million contact lens wearers in the UK, representing at least 8.9% of the adult population.

ACLM reported the market value of daily disposables as 78.8%, with silicone hydrogel lenses accounting for 92.5% in the weekly/bi-weekly and monthly market.

The contact lens care market was down 1.4% to £17.4 million.

ACLM summarised the data, courtesy of EuromContact, the European association of the contact lens and lens care industry.

The survey features 32 countries, including 13 in Europe, and not all manufacturers contribute to the statistics, meaning RGP lenses, some care products, and High Street own-brands are not included in the report.

Sharing the 2023 figures, Simon Rodwell, secretary general of the ACLM, commented: “Technological developments continue to come on-stream, making the latest designs of contact lenses more suitable than ever for presbyopes and for myopia management, as well as for younger and older wearers.”

“Contact lenses remain popular with the vast majority of wearers and they offer the best opportunity for business growth to eye care practitioners. Managed properly, long-term contact lens wearers are generally more loyal to their practitioner for aftercare,” Rodwell said.

The bigger picture

EuromContact’s report A Comparison of European Soft Contact Lens Markets in 2023 revealed a “robust growth of the contact lens market.”

A key finding from the report indicated that the market value of soft contact lenses at industry to eye care professional level grew by 5.2% in 2023.

Significant growth was seen in European markets including 16.2% increase in Belgium-Luxembourg and 11.7% in Sweden.

Daily disposables account for 58.9% of the market, while weekly/bi-weekly and monthly contact lenses represent 41.1%, with “robust” growth of 4.8% and 5.6% respectively, the association shared.

Meanwhile, silicone hydrogel contact lenses “maintained their stronghold” in the weekly/bi-weekly and monthly segment with 83.8% value share.

The lens care market grew by 1.3%, EuromContact found.

Releasing the report, EuromContact said: “With consumers increasingly gravitating towards contact lenses for their vision correction needs, practitioners have a unique opportunity to expand their services and cater to a growing segment of contact lens wearers.”

“Practitioners can seize this positive momentum by exploring opportunities to enhance their contact lens offerings and play a pivotal role in meeting the evolving needs of contact lens wearers,” the association added.

The report can be downloaded from the EuromContact website.