In the second quarter of the year, sunglasses sales in optical practices in the U.K. surged as a result of good, sunny weather. The market research firm GfK found that they reached £18.9 million (€22.8m-$30.1m), and May had more than 87,800 pairs of sunglasses sold through optical practices, for a value of £7.4 million (€8.9m-$11.8m). This is the highest figure since May 2007.
GfK found that women's sunglasses sold better than unisex styles, with about 40 percent of pairs sold being designed for women. In this category, 91 percent of the glasses sold were plastic.
The ophthalmic frame market, however, decreased in the quarter, down by 4.3 percent from 2009 to £208.5 million (€251.2m-$332.0m). June alone was down by 10.6 percent compared with June 2009. In May, which did see some improvement, the strongest performers were frames costing less than £45 (€54-$72), up by 55.8 percent, and those with price tags of more than £220 (€265-$350), up by 48.5 percent. Even in June these two segments increased, by 60.4 percent and 26.3 percent respectively.
GfK noted that in 2008, frames costing less than £45 made up 26.9 percent of the total, but this year that had jumped to 35.9 percent.