In 2017, sales of soft contact lenses to eye-care professionals in Europe increased by 5.7 percent to €1,789 million, according to an annual study by the European Federation of National Associations and International Companies of Contact Lens and Lens Care Manufacturers (Euromcontact). The organization, which has been running a syndicated market data analysis since 2003, collected figures for daily disposables, weekly/bi-weekly and monthly, and conventional soft contact lenses. The results are based on data provided by participating contact lens companies, aggregated by an independent research agency. The reporting companies include: AMO - now part of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Alcon Vision Care, Avizor, Bausch&Lomb, Cooper Vision, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, mark ‘ennovy, and Menicon Europe. These companies cover between 80 and 90 percent of the disposable/planned replacement contact lens market in the covered countries, according to Euromcontact.

The total data collection covered 33 European countries, of which two pairs were brought together to form two clusters: Belgium with Luxembourg and U.K. with Ireland. However, the report covers only 11 major European markets, while occasionally making reference to the total of the 31/33. The list of markets assessed and reported on include: Belgium & Luxembourg, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and U.K. & Ireland. The 11 reported countries represent 79.9 percent of the total collected.

The contact lens market for the 11 reported countries grew by 4.3 percent in 2017, reaching a value of €1,431 million. The strongest growth was reported in Norway, which posted a 9.19 percent increase, and U.K & Ireland, up by 8.18 percent. Sweden was the sole country in the group that registered a decline, although the drop was by only 0.5 percent. In value, UK & Ireland remains by far the largest market for soft contact lenses with an estimated value of €340 million, followed by Italy (€220 million), Germany (€200 million), France (€180 million) and Spain (€120 million).

In the 11 markets, daily disposables grew by 7.6 percent, while weekly/bi-weekly and monthly inched up by only 0.4 percent. Conventional soft lenses grew by 5.5 percent, but when looking only at those with data from 2017 and 2016, conventional soft lenses declined by 8.7 percent.

For all 33 markets, daily disposables grew by 8.5 percent. Weekly/bi-weekly and monthly contact lenses grew by 0.4 percent, while conventional soft dropped by 8.5 percent. Conventional soft lenses are, however, a very small part of the total market, accounting for 0.6 percent of the total in all 33 markets, and 0.7 percent in the 11 reported markets.

Silicone-hydrogel lenses, which were important drivers for the contact lens market together with daily disposables over the past few years, now have an 83.5 percent share of the segment of weekly/bi-weekly and monthly lens market across all 33 countries, and a share of more than 70 percent in all the 11 reported countries except Italy, where the share stood at 67.4 percent.

As for lens care products, sales across all 31/33 markets declined by 0.4 percent to €250 million. In the 11 reported markets, sales of lens care products declined by 3.2 percent, reaching a total value of €170 million. Soft disinfecting products, which include both hydrogen peroxide based solutions and multipurpose solutions, accounted for 83.7 percent of the total market of lens care products in the 31/33 markets.

In terms of market penetration, Sweden leads the pack with 14.8 percent of the population aged 15 to 64 wearing contact lenses, although the penetration rate declined by 0.22 percentage points in 2017 as compared to the previous year. Denmark follows with a penetration rate of 13.2 percent, down by 0.38 percentage points. Norway saw the penetration rate increase by 3.25 percentage points to 11.4 percent. Spain registered a penetration rate of 4.05 percent, the lowest among the 11 reported markets. Germany is also in the lower part of the ranking with 4.28 percent, although in this case the penetration rate registered an increase of 3.52 percentage points from the previous year.