Eyewear and Sunglasses are an inevitable part of accessories. Just as Indian women are heading for branded clothes, footwear and watches, they desire to own designer eyewear as well.
The Indian eyewear industry is on the cusp of change. Just like other sectors are witnessing revolution owing to great technology, the eyewear industry too is undergoing an overhaul. Increase in disposable incomes, prominence of working women, higher premium brands on the board and increasing exposure to international markets are few factors driving the growth.
Earlier Indian eyewear market was dominated by male buyers for sunglasses. But today, women are increasingly going for designer shades and eyewear to complement their outfit and entire look. Foreign brands like Ray Ban, Vogue, Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole and many more are coming up with great product designs and style for Indian women. There is a rage of new stores and outlets across India. The penetration is further accelerated through online marketplaces. Portals like Jabong, Koovs, Amazon, Snapdeal, Limeroad etc are offering branded sunglasses under their ‘accessories’ section from the comfort of home and that too at great deals and discounts. There are dedicated websites for buying just eyewear – like Lenskart, specswala etc in India that endeavours to offer a great online shopping experience. Apart from the metros, women in tier II and tier III cities are also driving the growth for branded eyewear in India.
Women are driving up sales for companies such as Luxottica India Eyewear Pvt. Ltd. - the Indian subsidiary of the Luxottica Group, which sells brands such as Ray-Ban and Oakley.
Luxottica currently devotes 40-45 percent of its collection in terms of volume to women’s products. The category is growing at 30 percent as against 20 percent for men’s sunglasses for the brand.
A report by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), has stated that the sunglasses market was estimated at Rs.2,200 crore in 2012. It suggested that premium sunglasses—brands such as Esprit, Giorgio Armani, Cartier, Tommy Hilfiger, Ray-Ban, Dolce and Gabbana, Calvin Klein and Police—are growing at 40 percent a year and that high-end eyewear accounts for about 30 percent of the market.
While women are adding to the expanding consumer base, the availability of multiple brands and a marked shift towards them are driving growth in the category. The availability and visibility of such products in retail areas such as malls is helping boost demand for sunglasses.
Over the past two years, women sunglasses buyers have doubled at GKB – Kolkata based Eyewear Company. The company reveals that the presence of dedicated multi-brand retail outlets has improved the sales scope of the sunglasses and eyewear.
The growing number of women consumers is good news for companies as they tend to spend more than men. The proportion of women online shoppers has also risen to 35 percent from 25 percent about two years back.