The fifth edition of OMO

For the first time the research focused on four new countries: United States, China, Russia and Japan.

The OMO-Optical Monitor six-monthly survey commissioned jointly by MIDO and SILMO to GFK explored consumers’ habits in terms of possession, purchase and use of prescription eyewear and sunglasses in four new countries: United States, China, Russia and Japan, the former being a well-established and critical market for eyewear, and with the others having great potential. The countries were then benchmarked against Europe’s big five markets, the traditional focus of this survey now in its fifth edition.
In terms of possession of eyewear, Europe continues to be the area with the greatest market penetration both for sunglasses (which are selling very well in Russia) and prescription eyewear (especially in Japan, where the higher mean age of the population has increased the percentage of eyesight problems).
China instead, is the country where contact lenses are most used. Another interesting figure concerns purchasing frequency.
The purchasing behavior of consumers in the U.S., China, Russia and Japan is very much the same for sunglasses and prescription eyewear. However, if the average for the 5 main European countries is slightly longer than 3 years, similar to the U.S. and Russia, surprisingly for Chinese consumers this is less (2 years) and for Japan it is more than 4 years.
The percentage share of on-line purchases also comes as a surprise, and is very similar as in the 5 main European countries, low for prescription eyewear, except for the United States, and about 10% for sunglasses.
As far as average prices are concerned, the top 5 players in Europe remain the most interesting countries: 273 for prescription eyewear versus 207 in the U.S., 168 in Japan, 97 in China and 50 in Russia. For sunglasses also, Japan is in line with the European prices (97 versus 96), while for the other countries this is much less: (79 for China, 57 for the United States, and just 27 for Russia). The prices also reflect the different income levels in each country and its eyewear distribution. For sunglasses, the purchase channels are very different: department stores are decisive in the United States, and in Russia there are also sunglass specialists, as is the case for China, whereas chain stores rank first in Japan.
A significant trend is street markets in Russia, a good 12% of the consumers interviewed stated they had bought sunglasses at a street market. The wellknown issue of counterfeiting could be addressed here… but this is another matter. Also to be pointed out is a fact that had already emerged last year in the 5 main European countries: eyewear competition in the near future will be both on- and offline in China, Japan, Russia and the U.S. too.