The Sunglasses Stores Industry has already begun its recovery from the economic storm. According to IBISWorld, the nations largest publisher of industry research, improving consumer sentiment and favourable demographics have helped bolster sales, benefiting companies like Luxottica Group and National Vision Inc. Revenue in the industry is expected to grow over the next five years which will be supported by higher projected household incomes and an improved sense of financial stability. For this reason, industry research firm IBISWorld has added a report on the Sunglasses Stores Industry to its growing Apparel & Accessories Stores report collection
Sales of sunglasses during the past five years have been particularly sensitive to drops in consumer confidence, as sunglasses are more of an optional purchase than prescription eye glasses. However, IBISWorld forecasts the sunglasses stores industry to rebound supported by higher projected household incomes and an improved sense of financial stability over the next five years.
Growth in the sunglasses stores industry will be driven by increasing awareness of the useful benefits and the style appeal of these accessories. Prior to the recession of 2008 and 2009, strong economic growth and easy access to credit enabled consumers to purchase sunglasses as a fashion accessory. The sunglasses market is typically distinguished by price and function, and classified into premium and value segments. According to IBISWorld analyst, Nikoleta Panteva, the premium segment has grown faster than the value segment in the five years to 2011. The fashion aspect also contributes to shorter replacement cycles and volatile sales, as styles and consumers’ financial capacity to spend change frequently.
To provide convenience for consumers, as well as to create brand awareness, sunglass stores aim to be located in high shopping traffic areas or near ophthalmic specialists. The industry remains fragmented through small retail chains and independent locations. Italian firm Luxottica Group and National Vision Inc. are the industry’s largest operators. Luxottica is a vertically integrated network of manufacturing plants, distribution operations and retail outlets. In the US Luxottica Group operates mainly through its Sunglass Hut and Oakley O locations.
Breadth and depth of product selection is also an important consideration. An appropriate product mix should tailor to match the demographic composition of the store’s market. Stores located in regions or states with a relatively higher income earning clientele should stock branded as well as private label frames, lenses, accessories and sunglasses. Additionally, stores are increasingly focusing on integrating services, such as eye exams, frame fitting, and purchasing advice to adapt to consumers’ demands for one-stop shopping.