Optical Goods Retailing - UK - February 2016
“Concentration of the retail sector has continued. The big three opticians, Specsavers, Boots and Vision Express, have all gained market share, thanks to the expansion of their chains. Attention grabbing deals remain the cornerstone of promotional strategy, but we are seeing more brand building by the chains in order to reduce the focus on discounting. New competition from John Lewis (in conjunction with Luxottica) and Superdrug and growth of optical chains at Asda and Tesco will intensify competition even further and inevitably the losers will be independents, who continue to see market share being steadily chipped away.”
– Jane Westgarth, Senior Market Analyst
This report answers the following questions:
- Can opticians find new ways to grow?
- What are the prospects for internet retailing in eyewear?
- Is there a future for independents?
The optical retail sector is concentrated into the hands of three large chains, Specsavers, Boots and Vision Express. Specsavers focuses on value, Boots positions itself as a health-led retailer and Vision Express is positioned as a quality optician with good healthcare. Independent opticians are gradually losing market share and many regional chains including Conlons and Rayners have been taken over by the multiples. Asda and Tesco have been improving market share helped by expansion of their in-house chains. These supermarket opticians are positioned at the low end of the price spectrum. Online selling has not made significant inroads in this marketplace but is becoming more established in contact lenses than in prescription spectacles.
This report covers core goods and services sold through opticians, including:
- Eye tests
- Prescription sunglasses
- Spectacle frames and lenses (we use the term glasses and spectacles interchangeably)
- Contact lenses (including aftercare)
- Contact lens solutions through opticians, chemists and other outlets.
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