European optical market 'worth over €17bn in 2015'

Growth recorded across all sectors in France, Italy, Spain and Germany

21 Mar 2016 by Robina Moss

A one euro coinMarket research company GfK has announced its latest figures for key European optical markets in France, Italy, Spain and Germany, confirming a turnover of over €17bn last year.

GfK’s optics panel tracks sales data for sunglasses, spectacles frames and ophthalmic lenses, as well as contact lenses and their care products.

The 2015 figures show a 7% growth in sales value for the optical market across France, Italy, Spain and Germany.

The positive trend applies to all of the four countries analysed. Italy ended the year with a growth of 4.1%, while France grew 3.8%, and Spain and Germany recorded double-digit growth of 10.5% and 11.1% respectively.

The data shows that the positive trend was also across all product sectors. The market for contact lenses, including care products, grew 2.3% in 2015, while the frames market grew 6.5%.


The sunglasses sector in Europe has recovered after a decrease of 3.6% recorded in 2014, was showing a growth of 7%. The spectacles lenses sector, which represents 58% of the total optical market, grew 7.8% in 2015.

Senior business group manager of optics research at GfK, Till Herzog, said: “This strong increase is based on a robust unit sales growth of 5.8% and an increase in the average selling price of 1.8%. The price trend was caused by a rise in the number of higher quality lenses sold in the European spectacles market.”

Analysis of GfK’s data by lens type shows that sales of progressive lenses increased across most markets, led by Germany and France at around 32% growth. Additionally, sales of the 1.6 and 1.67 refraction index lenses increased, driving up the overall average selling price for the total market.

Certain features of products have also had significant impact on the overall market value, according to GfK. The final value of monofocal lenses was influenced by sales of refraction index lenses and lens coating – while, for progressive lenses, “individual” features from customisation had an even greater impact.

GfK’s data also shows correlation between the lens price and the spectacles frame price. There is a much higher share of progressive lenses sold within high-end frames, compared to low-end frames; the same situation that is seen with the refraction index, the research company concludes.

Image credit: Flickr/Ali Melin


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