The rise in the ageing population in Switzerland created awareness of the importance of better eye care in the general public. Long working hours at the computer and the frequent use of digital devices contributed to eyesight deterioration in many people in Switzerland. It was observed that the eyewear market is saturated with stiff competition of many brands along with falling prices has reduced the growth in the eyewear market. Spectacles market is sure to rise moderately over the coming years compared to the contact lenses that might saturate in the future. The daily disposable lenses in contact lenses segment will growth steadily due to the convenience they offer consumers.
The prices of eyewear are much higher in Switzerland compared to the neighbouring countries. This trend encourages consumers to hunt for cheaper eyewear products. Majority of the Swiss consumers take advantage of the strong Swiss franc and the weak Euro, and thereby avoid optical shops in Switzerland. Most of the Swiss population cross the border into neighbouring countries for affordable eyewear products. The rapid expansion of optical shop chains in Switzerland has intensified eyewear products competition. Online retailers have also strengthened their presence and offered many offers and rewards. Therefore, independent opticians faced immense pressure in the eyewear market and sales.
Switzerland eyewear is dominated by multinationals or leading European companies due to the trust and high quality. These leading companies invest huge funds in research and development and launch innovative eyewear. The other competitors in Switzerland eyewear remain fragmented with small manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, agents and buying groups. The leading competitors in Switzerland eyewear shops are Visilab, Fielmann and McOptiK. These companies established a strong aura national wide in eyewear with self-manufactured and self-branded products. Majority of the optical shops hold the largest share of eyewear distribution in Switzerland but face stiff competition from online retailers who offer products at extremely low prices. There is a stiff competition between optical chains and online retailers which will lead to a drop in prices and suppress the growth of eyewear market.
A moderate growth is observed in the sunglasses market as the growing demand for sunglasses explains development of innovative, effective products and designs along with improved living standards of consumers. Global technological advancements have encouraged manufacturers to introduce sunglasses with innovative functionality. Oakley, a leading global vendor in sunglasses has introduced innovative lens technologies like Prizm. These lenses provide ultra-precise colour tuning, and are designed for specific environments. Latest sunglasses are equipped with built-in speakers by Zungle Panther which uses the bone-conduction technology and Bluetooth audio playback allowing consumers to listen to music and make phone calls by transmitting sound waves to skull using vibrations. Increased awareness about harmful UV radiations among global population demands for branded sunglasses and positively affects the growth of the global eyewear market. Luxottica, Safilo, Essilor, LVMH, and Maui Jim are the prime vendors in the global sunglasses market. Polarized sunglasses are in high demand as they provide higher visibility and comfort, especially for people who are light-sensitive, reduce eyestrain, and display colours properly.
According to the research report “Spectacles in Switzerland”, most of the Swiss consumers prefer spectacles as fashion accessories. Eyewear frames receive special attention with the design, colour, shape, size along with brand playing an important role while purchasing. The current fashion trends and the opinions of fashion leaders, blogs, bloggers and social media also help in the growth of eyewear market. As fashion accessories, spectacles are expected to enhance the personality and individuality of the consumer. This trend encourages the consumers to purchase new eyewear though the old eyewear is still usable. Essilor (Suisse) SA is the leading brand in Swiss spectacles as it is the Swiss subsidiary of the multinational Essilor Group. Essilor brand leads in spectacle lenses and offers consumers a large range of innovative products with high quality.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications