Companies in this industry sell prescription and other eyeglasses and contact lenses; they usually include a lab on premises to grind lenses to specifications. Major companies in the US include LensCrafters and Pearle Vision (both owned by Italy's Luxottica), National Vision, and Visionworks of America, as well as Fielmann (based in Germany) and GrandVision (the Netherlands).
Global revenue for the retail optical industry - including contact lenses, eyeglasses, and prescription and non-prescription sunglasses - is about $120 billion, according to Zion Market Research. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 1.3 billion people worldwide suffer from some form of vision impairment.
The retail optical industry in the US includes more than 12,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $11 billion.
Optometrists are covered in a separate industry profile.
Demand is driven by demographics, fashion, and changing health care practices. Most important is the aging of the US population, which is increasing demand for eye exams and glasses. Large retailers enjoy economies of scale in purchasing and can offer a wider range of product styles. Small retailers can often compete successfully with large chains by offering convenient locations, specialized products, or superior service. Eyeglass purchases are mildly cyclical with the economy, as many consumers view extra glasses as an expense that can be deferred. The US industry is concentrated: the 50 largest companies generate about 70% of revenue.
Although e-commerce only accounts for a small percentage of the eyeglasses market, a growing number of companies are selling glasses online. Warby Parker, most notably, has made waves by building a competitive online business before opening brick-and-mortar stores. The company is also one of several businesses that offer online eye exams. Responding to the trend, optometric industry advocates have argued that it is crucial for patients to receive custom fittings and have eye exams performed by doctors. Traditional eyeglass retailers have also moved into online sales, however.
Products, Operations & Technology
Opticians sell eyeglasses and contact lenses in retail stores based on prescriptions written by optometrists or ophthalmologists. Often stores employ an
Sales & Marketing
Finance & Regulation
Regional & International Issues
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
Trends and Opportunities
Call Preparation Questions
Glossary of Acronyms