Online spectacles sales increases by 2%

A Silmo and Mido study has analysed consumer buying habits and the optical market in five European countries

SIlmo 2018

The habits of British spectacles and sunglasses shoppers are “very different” when compared to other European countries, according to new market research.

Attendees at Silmo in Paris (28 September–1 October) heard that 91% of British consumers buy their spectacles in store with 9% making purchases online – an increase of 2% from 2017.

Independents' share of the spectacles market has increased from 16% in 2015 to 18% in 2018. The multiples have seen a 5% decrease from 2015 to 60% in 2018.

The survey revealed that 88% of British consumers buy their sunglasses in store with 12% going online.

Sales director at market insights company GfK, Giampaolo Falconio, presented the joint Silmo and Mido study that analysed consumer buying habits and the optical market in five European countries.

Information was gathered from 6000 interviews during the summer and is all based on consumer feedback from the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

In France, just 2% of spectacles shoppers buy online. The survey showed that the majority of optical sales is done at independents and multiples (94%).

However, the online sunglasses market in France has increased from 5% in 2016 to 14% in 2018. Mr Falconio noted that opticians are “losing” in the sunglasses market with 38% of the market share.

In Italy, independents have a 47% share of the spectacles market, while multiples have 27% of it. Spanish independents have increased their share from 37% last year to 41% in 2018 with multiples having 53%.

Mr Falconio noted that online sales have 14% of the German spectacles market and 17% of the sunglasses market. Multiples have 60% of the spectacles market, with independents (19%) closely followed by online sales (11%).

Price and quality of lenses in the spectacles market are the two main drivers for British consumers, with brand and celebrity becoming increasingly influential factors.

In the sunglasses market, the brand is even more influential, with 68% reporting it as a factor, while quality of lenses (66%) and advice from staff (48%) are also important for consumers.