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Optical Goods Retailing - UK - February 2018

“Consumer spending on optical goods and services in the UK has continued to rise. However, growth in the market continued to be hindered by low inflation in core categories as a number of the leading players rely on competitive pricing strategies to attract customers. As a result, the independents are suffering as they struggle to compete, but there could be opportunities for them to regain share by differentiating themselves with a focus on customer experience.”
– Samantha Dover, Retail Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • Are the leading players relying on promotions?
  • How is the online optical goods market developing?
  • Can the independents regain share through experience?

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Market forecast to grow 15% by 2022
              • Figure 1: Consumer spending on optical goods and services, 2012-22
            • Spectacles continue to capture most spending
              • Figure 2: Estimated consumer spending on optical goods and services, by category, 2017
            • Prices remain low as a result of intense pricing competition
              • Figure 3: Annual percentage change in consumer prices, January 2017-December 2017
            • An aging population continues to benefit the market
              • Figure 4: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2016-26
            • Companies and brands
              • Specsavers and Vision Express increasing market share
                • Figure 5: Estimated share of the UK optical goods and services market, 2017
              • Specsavers also stands in brand research
                • Figure 6: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, January 2018
              • The consumer
                • Almost three quarters wear prescription eyewear
                  • Figure 7: Eyewear and hearing aid wearers, November 2017
                • Younger consumers most likely to buy contacts
                  • Figure 8: Eyewear and hearing aid purchasing in the last 12 months, November 2017
                • Frequency of purchase
                  • Figure 9: Frequency of prescription eyewear purchasing, November 2017
                • One in six prescription eyewear buyers now shop online
                  • Figure 10: Willingness to purchase prescription eyewear online, November 2017
                • Specsavers captures highest volume of consumers
                  • Figure 11: Retailers used to purchase prescription eyewear in the last 12 months, by what they bought, November 2017
                • Key driver analysis highlights the importance of expertise
                  • Figure 12: Key drivers of overall satisfaction with prescription eyewear retailers, November 2017
                • Online perceived as more difficult when buying prescription eyewear
                  • Figure 13: Attitudes towards buying prescription eyewear, November 2017
                • What we think
                • Issues and Insights

                  • Are the leading players relying on promotions?
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • How is the online optical goods market developing?
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                              • Can the independents regain share through experience?
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                    • Consumer spending on optical goods rises 2.2%
                                      • Growth in the market driven by rising contact usage
                                        • Pressure on consumer incomes in the UK
                                          • Aging population continues to benefit the sector
                                            • Holiday market slowdown could impact sales of sunglasses
                                            • Market Size and Forecast

                                              • Optical goods market growth slows in 2017
                                                • Figure 14: Consumer spending on optical goods and services, 2012-22
                                                • Figure 15: Consumer spending on optical goods and services, 2012-22
                                              • Consumer spending on sunglasses up 2.7%
                                                • Figure 16: Consumer spending on fashion sunglasses, 2012-22
                                                • Figure 17: Consumer spending on fashion sunglasses, 2012-22
                                              • Forecast methodology
                                              • Market Segmentation

                                                • Contact lenses increase share of the market
                                                  • Figure 18: Estimated consumer spending on optical goods and services, by category, 2017
                                                  • Figure 19: Breakdown of estimated consumer spending on optical goods and services, by category, 2012-17
                                              • Market Drivers

                                                • Consumer incomes under pressure
                                                  • Figure 20: Real wage growth – Average weekly earnings vs inflation, January 2014-November 2017
                                                • Low inflation in the optical goods markets
                                                  • Figure 21: Annual percentage change in consumer prices, January 2017-December 2017
                                                • Consumer confidence weakens
                                                  • Figure 22: Consumers’ future financial confidence, January 2009-December 2017
                                                • How people spend their extra money
                                                  • Figure 23: Trends in what extra money is spent on, December 2017
                                                • The impact of sunshine hours on the sunglasses market
                                                  • Figure 24: Percentage change in annual sunshine hours in the UK, 2017
                                                  • Figure 25: Seasonal share of annual sunshine hours in the UK, 2017
                                                • Less holidaying abroad could also impact sales of sunglasses
                                                  • Figure 26: Percentage change in total UK residents' visits abroad, January 2015-October 2017
                                                  • Figure 27: UK residents' total visits abroad and holiday visits abroad, January 2014-17
                                                • Aging population benefits opticians
                                                  • Figure 28: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2016-26
                                                  • Figure 29: Breakdown of trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2016-26
                                                • More people having NHS funded eye tests
                                                  • Figure 30: Total NHS sight tests in England, Wales and Scotland, 2012-16
                                                  • Figure 31: Breakdown of total NHS sight tests in England, Wales and Scotland, 2012-16
                                                • Industry changes
                                                  • NHS proposes funding cuts for “minor conditions”
                                                    • Department of Health considering streamlining healthcare regulators
                                                      • NHS Scotland introduces charges for optometrists in Scotland
                                                        • Increased fee for optometrists providing Wales Eye Care Services
                                                          • New guidance published on vision correction surgery
                                                          • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                            • Specsavers continues to grow
                                                              • Vision Express and Tesco deal set to disrupt the market
                                                                • Independents losing share of consumer spending
                                                                  • Ongoing development of online
                                                                    • Asda needs to establish a strong USP to compete
                                                                    • Leading Specialists

                                                                      • Specsavers retains market leading position
                                                                        • Boots sales up 0.7% despite blue light controversy
                                                                          • Figure 32: Leading optical goods retailers’ net revenues (excluding VAT), 2012-16
                                                                        • Rising number of opticians outlets
                                                                          • Figure 33: Leading optical goods retailers’ outlet numbers, 2013-17
                                                                        • Growth fuelled by store expansion
                                                                          • Figure 34: Leading optical goods retailers’ estimated sales per outlet (excluding VAT), 2012-16
                                                                      • Market Shares

                                                                        • Specsavers growing market share
                                                                          • Figure 35: Estimated share of the UK optical goods and services market, 2017
                                                                          • Figure 36: Estimated share of the UK optical goods and services market (excluding VAT), 2013-17
                                                                      • Competitive Strategies

                                                                        • Consolidation in the UK optical goods market
                                                                          • Merger between Luxottica and Essilor could disrupt the market further
                                                                            • Continued investment in Enhanced Optical Services
                                                                              • Development in online optical goods retailing
                                                                                • Contact lens subscription services
                                                                                  • Try-before-you-buy glasses
                                                                                    • New affordable contact lens retailer launches
                                                                                      • Measuring pupillary distance online
                                                                                        • Investing in UK manufacturing
                                                                                          • Optical Express partnership
                                                                                          • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                            • Strengthening brand assortment
                                                                                              • Figure 37: Balmain Specsavers collection, 2017
                                                                                            • Lenses for motorists
                                                                                              • Eco-friendly eyewear collections
                                                                                                • Figure 38: KOMONO NEUTRO collection, 2017
                                                                                              • Contacts with added benefits
                                                                                                • Snapchat Spectacles
                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Snapchat Spectacles, 2017
                                                                                                • Personalisation in the optical goods market
                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Nogs modular frames, 2017
                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Cubitts St. James’s Spectacle Atelier, 2017
                                                                                                • Developments in children’s eyewear
                                                                                                  • 3D eyesight testing
                                                                                                    • Figure 42: Paskal 3D, 2017
                                                                                                  • Performance eyewear
                                                                                                  • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                    • Decline in expenditure amongst highest spending advertisers
                                                                                                      • Figure 43: Top 5 Optical goods advertisers’ above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure, 2013-17
                                                                                                    • Specsavers share of advertising expenditure holds steady despite spending less
                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Breakdown of top 5 optical goods advertisers’ above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure, 2013-17
                                                                                                    • Brands also cut back on advertising sunglasses
                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on sunglasses, 2013-17
                                                                                                    • Key campaigns
                                                                                                      • Vision Express focuses on the importance of sight tests
                                                                                                        • Specsavers teams up with the Royal National Institute of Blind People to raise awareness of eye health
                                                                                                          • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                          • Brand Research

                                                                                                              • Brand map
                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, January 2018
                                                                                                              • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Key metrics for selected brands, January 2018
                                                                                                              • Brand attitudes: Specsavers’ customer service stands out
                                                                                                                • Figure 48: Attitudes, by brand, January 2018
                                                                                                              • Brand personality: David Clulow exclusivity aligns with brand positioning
                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Brand personality – Macro image, January 2018
                                                                                                              • Asda Opticians seen as basic but reliable
                                                                                                                • Figure 50: Brand personality – Micro image, January 2018
                                                                                                              • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                • Specsavers continues to benefit from high usage
                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: User profile of Specsavers, January 2018
                                                                                                                • Boots Opticians falls down on innovation
                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: User profile of Boots Opticians, January 2018
                                                                                                                • Asda Opticians’ value proposition resonates
                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: User profile of Asda Opticians, January 2018
                                                                                                                • Vision Express’ customer base aligns with Tesco Opticians’
                                                                                                                  • Figure 54: User profile of Vision Express, January 2018
                                                                                                                • David Clulow
                                                                                                                  • Figure 55: User profile of David Clulow, January 2018
                                                                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                • Uplift in people getting eyes tested
                                                                                                                  • More than two-thirds wear prescription eyewear
                                                                                                                    • Just over half of wearers have bought eyewear in the last year
                                                                                                                      • Low frequency of purchases
                                                                                                                        • Online purchasing remains low
                                                                                                                          • Most satisfied with their optician
                                                                                                                            • Knowledgeable staff are important
                                                                                                                            • Eye and Hearing Examinations

                                                                                                                              • Uplift in eye tests
                                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Usage of eye and hearing services in the last 12 months, November 2017
                                                                                                                              • Profile of consumers having eye examinations
                                                                                                                                • Figure 57: Usage of eye examination services in the last year, by demographics, November 2017
                                                                                                                              • Profile of consumers having hearing tests
                                                                                                                                • Figure 58: Usage of hearing examination services in the last year, by demographics, November 2017
                                                                                                                              • Profile of consumers having laser eye surgery
                                                                                                                                • Figure 59: Usage of laser eye surgery in the last year, by demographics, November 2017
                                                                                                                            • Eyewear and Hearing Aid Wearers

                                                                                                                              • High usage of prescription eyewear
                                                                                                                                • Figure 60: Eyewear and hearing aid wearers, November 2017
                                                                                                                              • Most wear bespoke spectacles
                                                                                                                                • Figure 61: Eyewear and hearing aid wearers, November 2017
                                                                                                                              • Younger shoppers most likely to wear contacts
                                                                                                                                • Figure 62: Eyewear and hearing aid wearers, November 2017
                                                                                                                            • Eyewear and Hearing Aid Purchasing

                                                                                                                              • Just over half have bought prescription eyewear
                                                                                                                                • Figure 63: Eyewear and hearing aid purchasing in the last 12 months, November 2017
                                                                                                                              • Glasses remain most purchased eyewear
                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Eyewear and hearing aid purchasing in the last 12 months, November 2017
                                                                                                                              • Older shoppers more likely to buy prescription sunglasses
                                                                                                                                • Figure 65: Eyewear and hearing aid purchasing in the last 12 months, by age and income, November 2017
                                                                                                                            • Frequency of Prescription Eyewear Purchases

                                                                                                                              • A quarter only buy every 2-3 years
                                                                                                                                • Figure 66: Frequency of prescription eyewear purchasing, November 2017
                                                                                                                              • Young people shop more frequently
                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: Frequency of prescription eyewear purchasing, by age, November 2017
                                                                                                                            • Where Consumers Purchase Eyewear

                                                                                                                              • One in six have shopped online
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 68: Willingness to purchase prescription eyewear online, November 2017
                                                                                                                                • Almost half shop with Specsavers
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 69: Retailers used to purchase prescription eyewear in the last 12 months, November 2017
                                                                                                                                  • Online retailers popular amongst contact buyers
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 70: Retailers used to purchase prescription eyewear in the last 12 months, by what they bought, November 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Older shoppers favour independents
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 71: Retailers used to purchase prescription eyewear in the last 12 months, by age and income, November 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Sunglasses most likely to be bought via clothing specialists
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 72: Retailers used to purchase fashion eyewear in the last 12 months, November 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Satisfaction with Optical Goods Retailers

                                                                                                                                      • High levels of satisfaction
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 73: Satisfaction with optical goods retailers, November 2017
                                                                                                                                      • Independents score highly overall…
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 74: Overall satisfaction with optical goods retailers, by where consumers shopped, November 2017
                                                                                                                                      • …but their promotions (or lack of) let them down
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 75: Satisfaction with optical goods retailers, by where consumers shopped, November 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Key Driver Analysis

                                                                                                                                      • Highlighting expertise should be a priority
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 76: Key drivers of overall satisfaction with prescription eyewear retailers, November 2017
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 77: Overall satisfaction with prescription eyewear retailers – Key driver output, November 2017
                                                                                                                                      • Methodology
                                                                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Buying Prescription Eyewear

                                                                                                                                        • Further evidence that knowledgeable staff are important
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 78: Attitudes towards buying prescription eyewear, November 2017
                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                            • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                              • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Key Driver Analysis

                                                                                                                                                  • Interpretation of results
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 79: Overall satisfaction with prescription eyewear retailers – Key driver output, November 2017
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 80: Satisfaction with prescription eyewear retailers, November 2017

                                                                                                                                                Optical Goods Retailing - UK - February 2018

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