Independents and small groups now only account for 20.4% of the value of optical goods sold, with Specsavers now enjoying 38.7% of the sector, up 3.5% since 2014.

Mintel’s latest report also reveals that 49% of all glasses are sold in a Specsavers store.  In fact, the big 3 (Specsavers, Boots & Vision Express) account for 66% of the market.  The report acknowledges a new entrant to the market, Scandinavian retailer CrossEyes.

At retail level, the UK market is worth just over £3 billion per annum, with 61% of this total coming from spectacles. In 2016, contact lenses (+4.4%) outgrew spectacles, totalling £589m.

Strong growth (16.5%) is forecast within the sunglass sector over the next 5 years.  General consumer spend on eyewear and eyecare will grow steadily in this period, driven by an ageing population (9% growth in over-55’s by 2021).
Mintel predicts that premium eyewear will enjoy growth but that competition between the chains will suppress prices.