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April 03, 2024

Why LensCrafters is Set to Propel Digital and Physical Eyewear Sales Until 2032

Since its inception 41 years ago, LensCrafters remains one of the US’s leading optical retail brands. A part of the significant EssilorLuxxotica eyewear conglomerate, LensCrafters, is leading the way for digital eyewear sales to swell amid customer demand and changing consumer behaviors. While a past Hexa Research report notes the brand among the key players in e-commerce, another more recent eyewear study similarly illustrates that it will play a role in growing the global eyewear market’s value to over $206 billion by 2032. 

Critical growth factors

Heightened need

Globally, incidences of refractive errors continue to rise, with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting that around 2.2 billion people have some sort of vision impairment. This comes as a result of severely timely reasons. First, the average lifespan has substantially increased, with US life expectancy alone nearly doubling in the last 200 years. As such, this gives more opportunities for age-related ocular problems to arise. This includes conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration, which, while not an immediate part of aging and not solely confined to older adults, are more prevalent in more mature individuals. Second, climate change has brought on environmental concerns impacting human health. In terms of the eyes, the weakening ozone layer allows for more harmful UV rays to pass through. This can substantially age and damage the eyes, contributing to retinal damage, corneal sunburns, etc. As pollution is part and parcel of climate change, the fine particulate matter in the air can also increase cases of eye infections and abrasions. Finally, the continued digitalization of society means swelling screen times. While largely beneficial, the devices involved in digitalization emit blue light. This lightwave is has been found to hurt overall eye health with overexposure, leading to straining, fatigue, and cellular aging.

Evolving consumer preferences

Aside from the need for corrective measures in line with worsening eye health, the eyewear market is also growing thanks to fashion trends. While sunglasses have always been a popular accessory, recent styles have seen even eyeglasses used similarly. Today, styles like “dark academia,” “quiet luxury,” and “soft librarian” are normalizing the use of specs aesthetically. In some cases, glasses are even used sans prescriptions simply for the look they offer. This adoption has also been spurred by influencer and celebrity culture, where more famous individuals openly use their sunglasses and optical eyeglasses. In particular, social media postings of eyewear have helped with the virality and mainstream success of multiple looks and styles contingent on specs or shades.

Key performance initiatives

Having said that, LensCrafters has optimized the abovementioned factors by translating those into their initiatives.

Diverse product offerings

To keep up with the rapidly evolving needs of customers, LensCrafters offers a wide range of products that address contemporary circumstances. A few decades ago, those with vision issues who frequented the outdoors were forced to choose between their sunglasses or their regular glasses. Today, LensCrafters offers prescription sunglasses that ensure neither correction nor protection needs to be compromised. Apart from providing the required 100% UV protection, these sunglasses can also use corrective lenses like progressives and single-vision. Rather than looking dated or bulky, as is the fear for most corrective products, these are available across popular brands and styles like the Ray-Ban Wayfarers and Oakley Holbrooks.

Along the same vein, LensCrafters carries various recognizable eyewear brands spanning different price points and usage occasions. For instance, while it carries the more budget-accessible Sferoflex brand, where prices start at $99, LensCrafters also offers luxury brands like Versace, Prada, and Ralph Lauren, to name a few. It should be noted that designer offerings, specifically, are among the most in-demand among consumers today, with shopping surveys revealing that this sector saw a 61% fiscal profits jump amid global inflation. In line with this, EssilorLuxxotica even launched an exclusive seasonal sunglasses collection in China featuring Burberry. This brand, which is also available on LensCrafters, is one of the most well-known high-end names, with over 20 million followers on Instagram alone.

Cohesive online and offline accessibility

Speaking of online platforms, LensCrafters has also seen incredible growth thanks to a wise marriage of physical and digital sales points. Apart from 955 physical stores across the USA, LensCrafters has adopted e-commerce via its own dedicated website. In both online and offline options, LensCrafters offers exclusive activities for patrons. In physical stores, customers can book eye exams, which include using Accufit technology. This high-tech measuring tool is said to be five times more precise than traditional eye-testing solutions. Aside from this, flagship stores like the Palo Alto (News - Alert) branch include state-of-the-art installations that allow visitors to experience eyewear in a new way. To illustrate, the store uses touch screens and iPads alongside a dedicated Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses display that allows consumers to capture and share content themselves.

Meanwhile, online, the LensCrafters site makes use of virtual try-on software. Through this, shoppers who have mobility, transportation, or scheduling limitations can still efficiently choose the eyewear that suits them best from the comfort of their homes. The official website also allows for online bookings of the aforementioned eye exams, further streamlining the process for time-pressed individuals. These efforts are once more reflective of EssilorLuxxotica’s broader plans to deliver personalized customer experiences using AI, VR, and AR applications.

Future outlook

To date, LensCrafters remains one of North America’s most successful eyewear retailers. In 2023 alone, ECDB noted the brand saw increased sales of almost $100 million. This upward trend is expected to continue, given the well-chosen roster of offerings and the adoption of timely tech alongside the growing need for eyewear products. With LensCrafters recently renewing their eyewear campaign with Sharon Stone, more customer traffic and interest can be anticipated. Considering that the US, where LensCrafters is among the most widespread eyewear retailers, makes up about 50% of EssilorLuxxotica’s revenue, it can be assumed that the former positively impacts the latter’s nearly $96 billion market cap. In conclusion, as one of EssilorLuxxotica’s most prolific brands, it’s no wonder why LensCrafters is primed to play a big part in the global eyewear market’s continued success.

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