Strategy With Vision, the European market research consultancy, has recently carried out a study of the optical market in Brazil. The key finding of the study was that the per capita spending on vision care is the highest there of all the emerging markets researched by SWV to date, including China, Russia and Turkey. This is only partly due to the fact that Brazil's high direct taxation and the high value of the Brazilian real result in local prices being more than 30 percent higher than in other countries.

The total spending on vision care in 2010 broke down to 5.4 billion reais (€2.22bn-$2.89bn) at net manufacturer's selling prices to optical retailers, and R$15.3 billion (€6.29bn-$8.17bn) at consumer selling prices including sales taxes. The top 10 retail chains have among them over 1,200 retail outlets and a market share of optical sales of 7 percent.

The sale of ophthalmic frames makes up approximately half of the retail turnover of an optician in Brazil. Ophthalmic lenses represent about 25 percent of its turnover. This is typical of a developing market. Over the long term, the percentage of total sales from frames will decline and the spending on ophthalmic lenses will increase. Because of the hot and sunny weather conditions of this tropical and subtropical country, sunglasses make up an important part of the retail turnover of an optician, with percentages similar to those found in Spain.

Brazil is also big in terms of spending on luxury goods. According to data recently released by Altagamma, the Italian luxury goods association, the luxury market in Brazil is worth €2.3 billion and has been growing at an average annual rate of 45 percent over the last eight years. On the other hand, many wealthy Brazilians shop for luxury goods and other products in other countries because of the high level of direct taxation.