Luxury Eyewear Market Eyes Growth in 2024

Luxury brands, once exclusively associated with their towering brick-and-mortar locations, are now deriving most of their sales online. According to Insider Intelligence, worldwide personal luxury sales are set to grow from $415.4 billion in 2023 to half a trillion by 2027. During this time, the industry’s largest markets, namely China and the US, will account for 50.6% of total luxury sales.

Eyewear holds a unique position in the luxury industry at large. Firstly, we often forget that glasses are a medical device. As such, consumers tend to look for craftsmanship and high-quality materials in their eyewear, which they wear daily and can be debilitating for some to live without. Secondly, considering eyewear is such a necessity, it’s a product in the luxury market that can resist economic pressures. When periods of inflation push people to cut back on discretionary spending, eyewear serves a dual purpose. Existing customers for the high-end names can continue shopping brands through eyeglasses or sunglasses at lower price points. Meanwhile, new customers can secure their first gateway luxury item, potentially creating brand loyalty and increasing lifetime customer value.

Eyewear toes the proverbial line between fashion and function, making it ripe for innovations in design and features – and astronomical growth.

Luxury gone digital

In general, the unprecedented growth of the luxury sector is coming from an unlikely source: Americans with a household income of less than $50,000 are responsible for 27% of luxury consumers. But that doesn’t mean practicality’s gone out the window. Per the Insider survey, the US market is driven by convenience (25.8%) and the ability to compare prices (14%) when purchasing online.

Given this healthy appetite for digital purchases, luxury eyewear brand retailers have enhanced their online storefronts through different partnerships and global brand deals. To further this convenience, Glasses Direct is simplifying access to luxury eyewear, being home to thousands of designer and affordable glasses alike. Luxe offerings from Dolce & Gabbana, chic options by Marc Jacobs, timeless Ray-Ban styles, and high-performance frames from Oakley make the retailer’s extensive range suitable for men and women alike. These platforms make luxury brands accessible to those in areas where these brands don’t yet have a physical location.

High-end eyewear brands bring a touch of luxury to practical accessories like eyeglasses with a strong collaboration culture. French luxury house LVMH’s Thelios eyewear unit has recently acquired French brand Vuarnet, which produces optical frames for brands like Dior, Fendi, and Givenchy. The brand’s expertise in creating mineral lenses means consumers will receive fashion-forward pieces without getting shortchanged on function.

Global and technological growth

As American demand continues to ebb and flow, luxury eyewear brands have learned to look at the bigger picture. Asia, and in particular China, is a hotbed of potential consumers. 80% of Chinese luxury customers are under 45, with $2,640 billion of Chinese heritage to be passed on in the next decade. Notably, 53.6% of Chinese children and teens have myopia. This means that China hits all the check marks of the ideal luxury eyewear spender: someone who needs glasses for medical reasons and for whom price is not a deterrent.

Plus, unlike other luxury items like bags or shoes, eyewear is poised to be the next frontrunner in wearable tech now that watches have had their moment in the sun. Brands like Hermes, Tag Heuer, and Louis Vuitton have dived into smartwatches before and may be expected to penetrate the smart glasses market in the coming years. Set to be fueled by advancements in technology, smart eyewear is nearly primed for mainstream adoption, with Asia-Pacific predicted to lead the market.

As brands innovate by expanding their global online presence and markets grow hungry for fashion-forward pieces that serve a real purpose, we can expect to see more growth in the promising luxury eyewear sector.