Snapshot of a new market

The results of the third Optical Monitor study were presented at Mido.

Consumers are connected 24 hours a day, needs are becoming more sophisticated, “word-of-mouth” on the social media is influencing consumer behavior more and more, optical stores are the main players on the market and web experiences are becoming more integrated with store experiences: these are just some of the findings by the “Optical Monitor” six-monthly survey of trends in the eyewear market commissioned jointly by MIDO and Silmo and carried out by GfK.
Optical Monitor probed into consumer behavior in the main European countries (Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the UK); this time, consumers in Holland, Belgium, Poland and Hungary were also added, all markets with distinctive, singular features.
This is the third survey and it offers a snapshot of a new market where mobile habits and on- and offline contacts are important: being able to compare prices on the web is still not as good as an in-store experience, which is fundamental to find out more about products and fully appreciate them. This trend – which becomes a challenge for all the players – emerged clearly: in the years to come, competition in the eyewear industry will be both on- and off-line.

Trend
Online buying is on the increase: Dutch consumers are the “e-commerce champions” of eyewear, followed by those in Belgium. Online buyers are mainly people aged between 36 and 55, a mature and well-informed target, and not digital natives. In Italy, France, Germany, Spain and England, but in Poland and Hungary as well, online buyers are younger (between 16 and 35 years of age), websurfers and social media users.
Future spending on sunglasses is projected to increase in the big 5 European countries, with a potential average spending of approx. €90; among the new countries analyzed, the figure is growing also in Poland and Hungary.
Spending on prescription eyewear is projected to increase in both the big 5 and in the new analyzed countries, namely Belgium, Poland (4%), and Hungary (6%).

Consumer behavior
Prescription eyewear still gets the upper hand compared to contact lenses in the preferences of consumers, mainly for watching TV (69%), reading (67%), and office work (62%). As a result, prescription eyewear is the most widespread optical product in all the target countries.
What makes consumers buy? The reasons differ according to the purchase: when a new pair of glasses is chosen, what prevails is the need to see better (rational reasoning); when buying a new pair of sunglasses the quality of the lenses is considered as are other more emotional elements (fit, design, etc.). An important piece of information in the 3.0 era: when choosing products (whether eyewear or sunglasses), for consumers stores are the place to go for information. Visual merchandising and the presence of an optician are both important: consumers are more reliant on these sources of information than they are on advice from friends and word-of-mouth. The healthcare practitioner continues to play a pivotal role and off-line sales remain fundamental for the market.

Top