According to The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) close to 50% of the population of Australia wear glasses or contact lenses due to Eye- Problems. It’s a huge market. You can find yourself paying as much as $500 for a seemingly flimsy piece of glass and plastic that surely cost no more than $40 to produce. You might wonder how you’ve been sucked into splashing so much cash on a simple device that allows you to live your life?
The answer is provided by a little-known brand called Luxottica. The masterminds behind some of the biggest brands in eyewear right now. Luxottica controls round about 80% of the foremost players in the eyewear industry. The company operates in 2 sectors, manufacturing and wholesale and retail distribution. Using essentially the same materials during assembly.
The list of the house brands includes;
Alain Mikli, Arnette, Eye Safety Systems (ESS),Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Persol, Ray-Ban, Sferoflex, Vogue Eyewear.
Whilst the company also has the rights to make eyewear for the subsequent designer brands;
Giorgio Armani, Brooks Brothers, Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY, Giorgio Armani, Michael Kors, Miu Miu, Polo Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith Spectacles, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Starck Eyes, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, Valentino ,Versace.
Along with various eye insurance groups, including the second largest in the US.
Company estimates puts the clients wearing their products right now at about half a billion. An absurd number for how many brands you thought were out there!
Because Luxottica controls such a proportion of the market, it allows them to set prices for their items at a relatively high amount for what a customer is willing to pay. Due to the decades, this has been going on for, it’s practically the norm for eyewear prices to be kept at relatively high price. Compare this with other products in other industries, such as cameras and laptops, that have been declining in price but experiencing innovations in technology due to the competition in the market. Whilst the formula for a pair of glasses has remained the same for hundreds of years, only undergoing change with certain style trends.
Admittedly, Luxottica produce a quality and thoroughly tested product that helps people to get on with their everyday lives. Representatives for the brand frequently argue that the high price of glasses is well earned, as they are “something you wear on your face for up to 15 hours a day”. At the end of the day a product is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.
Luxottica have been able to create an illusion of choice from a moderately low-tech consumer product across the world. They have created some of the most iconic eyewear pieces in history and capitalised on modern day consumerism, always in search for that logo or brand name.
Just something for you to think about when deciding on your next pair of spectacles or sunglasses.