Eyewear customers respond to sustainability and personalisation

Price, quality of lenses and weight of frames are the top three drivers for UK customers

Sustainability and personalisation are the top two trends that eyewear customers are responding to, according to market insights company GFK.

Presenting the 10th Optical Monitor at Silmo (27–30 September), GFK said that there are nine global trends found in its survey of over 6000 consumers in five European countries.

When asked about sustainability, 59% of customers agreed that brands and companies have to be environmentally responsible, which has risen from 50% in 2017 and 56% in 2018.

Personalisation also scored highly with 55% agreeing with the statement, ‘My individuality is reflected in how I look and what I buy.’ However, 42% said there are too many choices when shopping.

Social media is influencing consumer behaviour, with 19% stating that they have seen eyewear reviews or advertisements by fashion bloggers.

When discussing trends for eyewear materials and styles, GFK noted that while plastic is losing ground in Spain and Germany it is gaining relevance in the UK, particularly for sunglasses.

A full frame is the most popular shape in the UK and Spain for spectacles and sunglasses, with square spectacles also proving popular in the UK.

Online sales share for spectacles in the UK remained at 9% in 2019 from the previous year but increased from 12% to 17% in 2019 for sunglasses. However, this does not match peak of 19% in 2017.

Multiples experienced a 5% increase in 2019 in spectacles sales share compared to 2018 – the highest it has been for the last four years.

Independents maintained a similar share losing 1% in 2019 down to 17%, which has been consistent in the previous four years at 19% in 2016, 16% in 2017 and 18% in 2018.

Price (77%), quality of lenses (76%) and weight of frames (60%) are the top three purchase drivers for UK consumers, while an elegant look and design (61%) is a key factor for sunglasses.