Eyewear Retailers Boosting Online Presence

The National Eye Institute reports that about 66% of U.S. adults wear corrective eyewear, ranging from glasses to contact lenses. Generally, older consumers have higher rates of eyewear and these consumers are well-​accustomed to shopping in traditional retail stores. However, Millennials need corrective eyewear as well. As Jeff Fromm wrote in a Columbus Business First article, the unique habits of Millennials and their shopping preferences mean that eyewear retailers should be prepared to change how they sell to these consumers in order to maintain market share.

Millennial consumers expect to have products and services tailored exactly to their liking and analysts predict this trend will extend to eyewear as well. These consumers are image-​conscious. At least 31% of Millennials want to keep up with fashion while only 22% of the general population says fashion is important. To meet Millennial expectations for eyewear, both retailers and manufacturers should be promoting models with a range of color and fit potential.

Millennials might like to shop in stores for apparel and footwear, but when it comes to eyewear, they account for 40% of online activity in the category. While this online category is still small, analysts expect it will grow. Millennials are entering their busy years of parenting and they’ll be looking for solutions that save them time while still allowing for flexibility. Fromm writes that 16% of Millennials go to their local optometry shop and 12% favor Walmart vision. However, optometry shops should prepare for the future and grow their online presence. As they do so, they’ll also be able to appeal to optical customers from other generations.

Ad-​ology Research has found that at least 27.6% of U.S. adults will be purchasing new eyeglasses in the coming year. Nearly 80% of these consumers agree or strongly agree they will shop at a specific store to support a cause or charity. This tendency is particularly strong for younger consumers. Online ad campaigns may be especially effective when promoting either traditional or e‑commerce stores to this audience. At least 37% of these consumers have searched online for health or medical information in the past 30 days.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to Ad-​ology PRO. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.