Spectaris, the German eyewear industry association, is projecting higher growth rates for German eyewear consumption in 2006 after a relatively good year. It expects its members to record a 6 percent increase in its turnover this year to a projected €3.46 billion level, with growth of 9 percent domestically and 3 percent abroad.

With an overall 6.5 percent sales increase, the German industry recovered in 2005 from the 7.2 percent decline endured in 2004 because of the phase-out of government subsidies for consumers' purchases of ophthalmic lenses. German suppliers enjoyed a 7.8 percent sales increase to €1.67 billion in the German market last year, while their sales abroad grew by 5.2 percent to €1.60 billion. They reinvested 6 percent of sales on R&D. The number of their employees fell by 0.4 percent to 20,467 persons.

Higher growth rates are also expected for the French market. According to Xerfi, a research institute in Paris, it should increase this year by 3.5 percent after an increase of only 1.5 percent in 2005, thanks in particular to new marketing efforts by suppliers and retailers.