At its annual press conference, the German opticians' association, ZVA, reported that about 11.3 million pairs of complete glasses were sold in Germany in 2012, 2 percent more than in 2011, and a further six million existing frames were fitted with new lenses. The figures are better than the preliminary data that Thomas Truckenbrod, president of the association, had given at the Opti ‘13 trade show in Munich last January, where he estimated that the number of frames sold had declined by about 3 percent last year, offset by higher average prices.

The new figures include those subsequently published by Fielmann, which notes in its annual report that it continued to gain market share in the country, where the sales improved while those of the other opticians declined by 1 percent in units. Fielmann claims that it has market share in Germany of 20 percent in value and 50 percent in volume.

Fielmann notes that its 671 stores in Germany and other countries sell on average 35 pairs of glasses per day, or 15 times as many glasses as the average German optician for five times their revenues, due to its low-price positioning. Its bigger super-centers sell 30 times more glasses than the average opticians and make ten times more turnover. Overall, Fielmann's stores have annual sales ranging from €4 million to €17 million.

Fielmann also claims that its market shares in units improved in Switzerland and Austria, growing to 42 percent and 29 percent, respectively. It says that its market shares in value stood at 16 percent in Switzerland and 17 percent in Austria. According to Fielmann, total sales of spectactles remained unchanged last year in Switerland and Austria in terms of volume, totalling one million and 1.3 million units, respectively.

In terms of value, German opticians saw their total sales rise by 2.5 percent to €5.165 billion, as compared to 2011, according to ZVA. The rise was mainly due to higher sales made by retail chains. Independent opticians had little growth in value and no growth at all in volume. ZVA feels that they should promote their services more widely.

According to Fielmann, the chains have a 16 percent market share in Germany, but their shares are higher in two adjacent countries: 22 percent in Switzerland and 27 percent in Austria.

At its annual meeting last March, ZVA elected a new chief executive, Jan Wenzel, who will take office next Dec. 1. He will replace Joachim Goerdt, who is retiring at the end of this year.