A ‘truly outstanding’ brand

Posted on April 28, 2017
Author: Lifeatspecsavers

The UK optical market is buoyant and dominated by brands, including the ‘truly outstanding brand’ that is Specsavers, according to the latest Optical Goods Retailing report by Mintel.

The respected market research report, published annually, looks at the previous and current optical market, interviews consumers and also makes future predictions.

‘The largest retailer, Specsavers, has continued to build market share, thanks to the expansion of the chain, as well as the addition of related services such as domiciliary and hearing services. In its latest move, Specsavers is determined to develop MECS (Minor Eyecare Conditions Schemes), adding to its portfolio of services.

Attention-grabbing deals remain the cornerstone of promotional strategy, but we are seeing more brand building by the chains in order to reduce the focus on discounting.

New opticians inside John Lewis (in conjunction with Luxottica) and the steady growth of optical chains at Asda and Tesco will intensify competition even further. Plus, online selling is continuing to concentrate into the hands of major suppliers and multiple groups; most notably many of the pioneers have been bought by Essilor.’ Jane Westgarth, Senior Market Analyst

Specsavers has a truly outstanding brand, clearly differentiated from the rest and is highly trusted. 

In 2016, Specsavers was the most used optician, growing market share to 38.7% – and way ahead of competitors in terms of volume, capturing more than four times as many spectacle purchasers as Boots or Vision Express.

Specsavers was used by 49% of those who bought glasses in the UK. And 37% of consumers who switched from another optician, went on to buy from the multiple. Consumers cited special deals and ‘better staff’ as the reasons why they switched of opticians.

The report notes that both Specsavers and Boots enjoy high levels of brand trust, receiving higher scores on almost every aspect of attitudes towards brands in this survey compared to the one conducted in 2015. By contrast trust in Vision Express appears to have slipped back.

Report highlights:

  • Consumers spend £3,067m on optical goods and eye examinations
  • 16.5% growth forecast for sunglasses between 2016 and 2021
  • 66% of the market is captured by the top threeSpectacles are 61% of the market by value
  • An ageing population expands audience for prescription eyewear
  • New Danish entrant with personality (CrossEyes)
  • Superdrug sells optical goods online
  • Emerging world of wearable technology
  • The Specsavers brand stands out

Industry trends and forecasts:

  • In 2016, the best-performing market segment was contact lenses, which saw sales up 4.4% to reach £589m.
  • Spending on optical goods and services will grow steadily between 2016 and 2021. Growth will be driven by the ageing population. Although there will be a trend towards premium spectacle lenses and contact lenses, intense competition between the major retailers will keep a lid on price rises.
  • 9% growth in the number of over-55s between 2016 and 2021 will stimulate greater demand for spectacles and will also add to demand for hearing services
  • There will be 1.9 million more over-55s in 2021 than in 2016. This ageing population will help to expand the market for glasses as well as creating increased demand for eye examinations and monitoring.

Read more optical news here.