Eyewear: What to Expect in 2016

According to Euromonitor International’s latest research, eyewear is valued at US$121 billion globally in 2016, up by a modest 0.5% on the previous year. This is primarily due to weakening currencies against the US dollar, resulting in poor performances in Eastern Europe and Latin America affecting the global market. Nevertheless, the outlook for eyewear remains bright, with growing demand for eyewear in developing countries and for disposable contact lenses in developed countries. Here, we will discuss some of our findings from the latest research, published in June 2016.

Global Value Sales of Eyewear by Region: 2011-2016

global value of eyewear by region

Asia Pacific continues to shine despite a gloomy 2016

In 2016, global value sales of spectacles are valued at US$103 billion, representing small growth of 0.3% on the previous year. Despite this, growth in Asia Pacific remains strong, especially in India, the only country with above 10% growth in value sales in 2015-2016. We forecast that Asia Pacific will be nearly 1.5 times ahead of Western Europe in terms of retail value sales of spectacle frames by 2021.

Rise in demand for functional eyewear

The increasing prevalence of myopia globally and an ageing population are major contributors to the continuous growth in demand for eyewear. With children getting myopic at a younger age, parents are more concerned about the type of spectacle lenses that can help slow down myopia, causing an increase in demand for myopia control lenses. The ageing population and an increase in hours spent in front of digital devices, such as laptops, monitor screens, smartphones and tablets, have also resulted in higher demand for functional eyewear, such as office lenses, progressive lenses and digital devices lenses. Competition is toughening for the leading players as more low-cost providers are introducing lower quality products marketed to provide similar functions at a much lower price.

Contact Lenses regional performance

In the latest research, contact lenses are valued at US$14.6 billion globally in 2016, up by 2% on the previous year. Asia Pacific leads total value sales of daily disposable lenses, topping Western Europe and North America by almost 1.6 and 1.9 times respectively. Asia Pacific and North America remain the regions driving growth in sales of contact lenses in 2016. With increases in disposable income, consumers in these regions increasingly prefer daily disposable lenses for hygiene and convenience reasons. For Frequent Replacement lenses category, positive growth is observed for Asia Pacific and North America. Positive growth for the whole contact lenses category is however partially offset by a poor performance in other regions, as well as weakening currencies against the US dollar.

Contact lens solutions has a positive outlook in emerging markets

With increasing preference for daily disposable lenses which do not require solutions for cleaning and disinfecting, many are questioning the future of contact lens solutions. The latest research shows potential strong growth in sales of contact lens solutions in emerging markets, while developed markets are forecast with negative growth, primarily due to the increasing demand for daily disposable. Despite this, the market size of contact lens solution in developed market is still significant, five times the market size in developing markets in 2016. Therefore, manufacturers should still defend their shares in developed markets while venturing into emerging markets.

The road ahead

In summary, despite weakening growth, the eyewear industry remains strong, with factors such as increasing myopia and an ageing population, a growing middle class and rising disposable incomes contributing to sustained demand for eyewear. As a result, in the next five years, the eyewear industry is forecast to rise at a CAGR of 2.4% in constant 2016 value terms.

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