Trends in the optical industry

The second edition of OMO – Optical Monitor, a survey carried out by GFK and commissioned by Mido and Silmo, had its world premiere on 26 September.

In September 2014, Mido and Silmo, the industry’s two major trade fairs, unveiled the synergic decision to commission GFK to survey the developments of the optical market in the major European countries. Optical Monitor’s first results had been unveiled during this year’s edition of Mido and additional results were disclosed in Paris over the past few days.
The survey analysed consumers’ purchasing information and behaviour through half-year interviews aimed at identifying the latest trends in the European eyewear market. Approximately 6,000 online qualitative and quantitative interviews were conducted, covering the consumers of five European countries (Italy, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain).
The survey shows that plastic is the preferred material for 55% of consumers, surpassing metal while, in terms of shape, 70% of respondents opted for the full shape.
With respect to lenses, single vision lenses account for 53% of the market in the five countries, while progressive lenses confirmed their leadership position on the French market (44%), well above the average compared to Italy (22%).
Over the past six months, 44% of respondents purchased a pair of glasses or sunglasses. Shops are the main source of information where, especially for prescription glasses, the opticians’ recommendations played a real influential role in purchases, especially in Italy and France. Indeed, in these countries, opticians enjoy an excellent reputation.
The Internet is both an information tool and a purchase channel, especially for sunglasses. Online purchases are increasing, particularly in Italy. This channel is mainly used by the new generations (aged 16 – 25), followed by middle-agers (aged 26 – 35). An interesting fact is that, in France and Spain, the silver generation (aged over 56) is more likely to purchase sunglasses online.
According to 87% of those wearing prescription glasses, opticians are “eye care professionals”. Conversely, the opinion on after-sales services is less positive, showing areas for improvement. The opinion of those wearing sunglasses is less positive. 44% of respondents who purchased a pair of glasses spent on average Euro 268 for prescription glasses and Euro 79 for sunglasses. Discounts are approximately 30% with Italians and, surprisingly, the Germans, more willing to negotiate.
A new figure emerged compared to the first edition of OMO: those wearing prescription glasses usually change them every two and a half years, while sunglasses are changed more frequently, on average every two years.
The first three offline sales channels for both prescription glasses and sunglasses are shop chains, independent opticians and department stores. Finally, the survey revealed a positive figure which should please the market: purchase intentions for the next six months are on the rise, especially in Italy.