As we continue to look at eyecare industry trends another area to re-examine is the Speciality Eyewear-Eyecare and Lens market. Speciality Eyecare-Eyewear is a category of frames, products or services that fulfill a specific need. This is a very focussed and targeted market.
This category includes ethnic eyewear, smart glasses, sports eyewear, Special Needs, color Blindness, Children’s, Dry Eye, Computer Fatigue, Dyslexia, Tired Eyes, Blue Light, Allergy Eyewear, Gaming, Make up, Luxury, Magnifiers, Binoculars, Low Vision Aids, Oxygen Glasses (for those who need more oxygen) Vision Therapy, Ortho-K, nutraceuticals, sleep masks, Animal eyeglasses and more. In fact you could open up an eyecare office that just appeals to hard to find specialty products.
A company that has marketed successfully in a few of the above categories is JIN’s who launched their first US Flagship store in San Francisco. To see how they do their marketing see the JINS story.
As online sales grow, I believe we will see many more companies marketing eyewear and lenses along with other products to fulfill specific needs. We have provided a few areas of growth for eyecare professionals that are potential target markets.
1.) Special Needs: Estimates by Center of Disease Control state in the United States that about about 15%, of children aged 3 through 17 years have a one or more developmental disabilities (Source: CDC) This market will be growing as adults in these arena are living longer lives. There is only one eyewear line Specs4us that is focussed completely on the market.
2.) Allergy Eyewear: According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American nasal allergies affect about 50 million people in the United States and are increasing. They affect as many as 30% of adults and 40% of children. Allergic disease, including asthma, is the fifth leading chronic disease in the U.S. in people of all ages.
3.) ColorBlindness: 1 out of 12 men and 1 out of 200 women are color blind, which makes this an excellent niche market. The strongest lens that appeal to this market is Enchroma.
4.) Dyslexia Eyeglasses: According to Austin Learning Solutions, it is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, which is over 40 million American Adults – and only 2 million know it. ChromaGen is an option for eyecare professionals.
5.) Dry Eyes: With all the press and hype about computer vision syndrome and dry eyes, solutions are abounding on the internet. (over 25 Million results on google) There are now Dry Eye Experts, Dry Eye Lenses, Dry Eye Eyewear, Moisture Producing Eyewear, Pharmaceuticals, Nutraceuticals, Recipes all with the goal of soothing our dry eyes.
6.) Computer Eyewear and Lenses: Are they different from Dry Eye lenses? According to a 2015 Pew Research report over 84% of U.S. households own a computer, and 73% of U.S. households have a computer with a broadband connection to the internet. That number will continue to grow the both smart phones and tablets. Companies such as Felix Gray, Zappi Products and Gauss Eyewear are all marketing themselves as computer eyewear.
7.) Tired Eyes or Eye Fatique (over 75,000,000 results on google) This seems to be a big topic and concern. A company called Freeze Frames is going after this market using the tagline of tired eyes.
8.) Gaming Eyewear and Lenses: Gunnars most likely started this trend back in 2007, one of the first to deal with the growth of online gamers and special eyewear and lenses to enhance vision and descrease eyestrain when gaming. According to Pew Research 49% of adults play video games online with 10% considering themselves gamers. (Pew Research)
9.) Blue Light Eyewear and Lenses– You may be sick of hearing about blue light as every lens company and many eyewear companies have come up with Blue Light Solutions to help our eye health. ‘Blue Blocking Eyewear and Lenses have been around since the 1980’s. Anyone remember Serengeti Blue Blocking commercials? Companies such a Urban Owl and Blueberry Eyewear are targeting the Blue Light Eyewear market.
10.) Migraine EyeGlasses: Axonoptics and Theraspecs top this list of eyewear and lenses that appeal to the almost 5 million in the U.S. that experience at least one migraine attack per month, while more than 11 million people blame migraines for causing moderate to severe disability. (Source)
11.) Large People: Americans are the most obese people in the world. 68.8% of adults are considered to be overweight with 35.7% considered to be obese. 40% of women are considered obese and 74% of men are considered to be overweight. Obviously with those statistics, this is not a niche market, but a viable one for people with large heads. Two companies are making eyewear for large women. Edison Optics and Femie Eyewear and Fat Headz is a company that goes after the large heads for both men and women.
12.) Small Faces: Several companies such as Menizzi and Colibris are picking up the slack to offer fashionable eyewear for small faces.
13.) Posture Correcting Eyewear: We all know how important ergonomics is for preventive healthcare. Oppics has come out with posture correcting eyewear that reminds you to pick your head up when it droops.
14.) Make Up Eyewear: With the majority of women wearing eye make up it makes sense to offer solutions to put on their make up in the morning. Maybe offering eye makeup glasses will save some contact lens eyeballs. You can find Make up glasses from Rons Optical.
15.) Night Vision: The estimated market for Night Vision Eyewear is said to be worth $7.73 Billion by 2020. With night vision eyewear becoming mainstream and being used from Camping, military, security, hunting, work, navigation, paranormal to Surveillance.
16.) Protective-Safety Eyewear: According to some industry statistics this market is worth, $613Million and slated to grow about 1% a year. But as more DIYers and extreme sports enter the market it could potentially grow faster.
17.) Doggie Sunglasses: We are becoming a more animal-centric society and to that arf and bark, companies are going after the doggie market. Doggles is testing Rx eyewear for dogs, Warby Parker released it’s canine collection called Warby Barker and Zeal has gotten into the doggie sunglasses.
18.) Nutraceuticals: The nutraceutical market is said to grow to $204.8 Billion by 2017. There are several reasons for this growth. The rise of chronic health problems, the rise of organic products and the rise of functional food. Consumers are seeking alternative health options online.
19.) 3D Eyewear (see 3D printed Eyewear)
20.) Fun and Funky Frames
21.) Eco Friendly Eyewear: (TBA: Curated Eyewear)
22.) Smart Glasses (TBA) Video, bluetooth, camera, music, Augmented reality market.
23.) Sport Performance Eyewear: (TBA) Watch for this post in the near future.
Like all medical, the eyewear market will continue to be segmented. Crown and Flint tried to launch color therapy eyeglasses that made you feel good via lens tints. Light Therapy eyeglasses to help you sleep better, Jet Lag eyeglass, lose weight eyewear,
The secret to any market segment is to either capture it at the onset or watch it at the onset and develop a better marketing strategy than the competition. This is not about we have frames, this is about targeting we have ‘Tired Eyes Lenses’, We have Allergy Eyewear, We provide Dry Eyewear Solutions.
Key Take-Away: Relook at each product, service you offer and label them as solutions. Target market solutions.