The global consumption of prescription frames and sunglasses is expected to grow annually by 3-4 percent to reach €61 billion in 2023 as compared to €51 billion in 2018, with sales rising by 2 percent a year in developed countries and by 5 percent in emerging markets, according to data released by Safilo, which is making big investments in digitalization (see the related stories in this issue).

According to the company, sales of eyewear at brick-and-mortar stores are forecast to rise by 2-3 percent a year over the period, in contrast with an annual growth of 15-16 percent for sales over the digital channel, which would represent a slowdown from the 18.5 percent annual average growth rate registered in the previous five years.

In 2018, sales of eyewear over the internet stood at €3.5 billion, according to Safilo, representing 7 percent of the total market. They are estimated to have reached a level of €0.8 billion in the U.S., or 6 percent of the domestic market, €1.1 billion in China, or 23 percent of the national total, and €0.6 billion in the top five European markets, giving them a share of 7 percent.

Globally, online sales of sunglasses reached an estimated level of €1.7 billion last year, representing 11 percent of the total market, while sales of prescription frames over the internet amounted to €1.8 billion, or 5 percent of total revenues.

By 2023, online sales of sunglasses are forecast to reach €4.5 billion, or 20 percent of the total consumption, after increasing by an average annual rate of 20 percent. Safilo predicts that internet sales of prescription frames will go up by 11 percent a year to reach a level of €2.9 billion, or 7 percent of the total.