The eyewear market is more extensive than most people realize. It includes prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses, certainly, but its reach also extends to specialized eyewear categories like gaming and workplace safety. The industry was worth a global total of $115 billion in 2021. By 2028, its value is expected to grow to $172 billion. This impressive growth rate will be driven by changes in consumer behavior as well as technological innovation by eyeglass providers.
A Look at the Eyewear Market
Consumer shopping habits have changed. To use the US as an example, roughly 126 million Americans wear eyeglasses. The total national average cost for them to get a new pair of glasses is $576. Despite the high price tags, consumers are purchasing multiple pairs in one year. In the past, consumers would only buy one pair of eyeglasses every three years. Part of the driving force behind this change is the remote work and schooling necessitated by COVID-19. Corrective eyewear accounted for 55% total market volume in 2020 due to increased use of mobile phones and computers. People saw the need to change their prescription faster.
Moreover, excessive time spent with electronic screens has caused a rise in computer vision syndrome, meaning more consumers want to buy blue light-filtering glasses to protect their eyes. Light adaptive contact lenses, which help reduce dryness and irritation, also grew in popularity at this time.
The Case for Replacement Lenses
To shave off some of the costs that come with more frequent purchases, clever consumers are buying only replacement lenses instead of entirely new glasses. Average single vision lenses account for only $126 of the $576 total mentioned earlier. Replacing lenses is the less expensive option. This method also allows consumers to maintain their personal style as defined by their current set of frames. Getting lenses mailed also means the consumer can install their replacements themselves, adding convenience to the whole process.
How Glasses Providers Can Improve
Changes aren’t only coming on the consumer side, however. Eyeglass providers are always looking for ways to upgrade their offerings. Beyond the blue light glasses mentioned earlier are a wide variety of lens coatings individuals can add to improve their glasses-wearing experience. Types include UV protection, scratch resistance, anti-reflection, and anti-fog. That last one is especially useful in recent years, as anyone who constantly wears a face mask with their glasses can attest to.
Lens Coatings and Eyewear Tech
Beyond lens coatings, providers are looking into glasses that help people with medical conditions manage their symptoms. More specifically, they want to design glasses specially made for the sufferers of migraines and light sensitivity. Also on the market are electronic focusing glasses, though they remain outside the price range of most consumers. The next step beyond that are smart glasses. Once a product of science fiction, smart glasses could augment the wearer’s vision with displays placed outside their line of sight. Wearers can see more in their vision while minimizing distractions. Some devices have already reached the market, but most are expected to come into vogue in the near future.
Keep watch for the future of eyewear and learn more about the future of eyewear tech in the infographic below: