Last autumn's edition of Spectaris' annual report showed that France remained the biggest European importer of ophthalmic optics products in 2010, with an increase in the value of its imports of 11 percent to €1.02 billion.

The second biggest European importer was Germany, with an import value of €906 million, followed by Italy (€803 million), Great Britain (€749 million), Spain (€405 million) and the Netherlands (€390 million).

The following countries came next in terms of imports: Czech Republic (€211 million), Belgium (€204 million), Austria (€199 million), Sweden (€160 million), Denmark (€136 million), Portugal (€135 million), Poland (€110 million), Greece (€69.9 million), Finland (€69.7 million), Ireland (€64 million), Hungary (€45 million), Slovenia (€26 million) Luxembourg (€25 million), Romania (€21 million), Slovakia (€16 million), Cyprus (€12 million), Bulgaria (€8 million), Lithuania (€8 million), Estonia (€7 million), Latvia (€6 million) and Malta (€3 million).

The biggest increase in the import value of ophthalmic optics products was recorded for Estonia and Hungary, up by 38 percent and 22 percent, respectively.

Prescription frames accounted for the biggest share of trade in the sector in the European Union with a total import value of €1.69 billion in 2010. Contact lenses reached a total import value of €1.21 billion and finished lenses €873 million. The import value of semi-finished lenses was €687 million, whereas imports of sunglasses were worth €1.21 billion.

The figures for exports of ophthalmic optics products out of the EU were also presented in the study. Contact lenses took up the biggest share in theses exports with a total value of €2.21 billion in 2010, while frames had a total export value of €1.63 billion. Sunglasses reached a total export value of €1.91 billion, finished frames €738 million and semi-finished frames €478 million. Exports of spectacle frames were worth €159 million.

Spectaris' study also shows the breakdown of sales by country and product categories for 2010. In France, lenses account for 55.2 percent of total retail sales in the country, whereas in Germany, they make up 62.3 percent of the country's retail sales, in Italy 49.2 percent and in Spain 46.1 percent. In U.K., where lenses are not counted in, frames represent 58.6 percent of sales, sunglasses 6.9 percent, contact lenses 29.7 percent and other eye care products 4.8 percent.

In France, frames account for 26.5 percent of the country's consumption of ophthalmic optic products, sunglasses for 9.6 percent, contact lenses for 6.9 percent and other eye care products for 1.9 percent.

In Germany, frames make up 25.2 percent of sales, sunglasses 3.8 percent, contact lenses 6.3 percent and eye care products 2.5 percent. In Italy, frames represent14.8 percent of total retail sales in this sector, sunglasses 22.4 percent, contact lenses 11.4 percent and other eye care products 2.2 percent.