Summary of our market study

The French contact lens market will be worth around €560 million in 2022

The global contact lens market has grown significantly, by +15.% between 2020 and 2021. Estimated at 7.9 billion in 2021, it represents a relatively small share (around 8%) of the $100 billion optical market. Projections show that 50% of the world's population will be myopic by 2050.

The French market saw a +47% increase in contact lens sales between 2017 and 2022. It faces challenges such as environmental concerns over pollution, advances in new products such as connected lenses and zoom lenses, and the potential of "nanodrops" that could obviate the need for traditional visual aids in the future.

France's trade balance remains heavily in deficit, with imports of $202 million in 2022 and exports of $25 million. The coverage rate has recovered slightly, from 8.2% in 2021 to 12.4% in 2022.

The main suppliers and customers of French contact lenses are Germany, Ireland and Belgium.

Market trends for contact lenses in France

While corrective eyewear continues to be the standard choice for the French, with around three-quarters of the population opting for prescription glasses in 2022.

The post-pandemic period marked a turning point, with increased care volumes leading to a spike in demand for medical optics, which rose by a notable 16%.

there was a marked interest in contact lenses, particularly after the disruptive phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. The inconvenience of glasses fogging up when wearing a mask prompted many French consumers to switch to contact lenses.

Consumer demand remains promising: 3 out of 4 French people will need corrective eyewear by 2022, and only 5% of the population currently use them.

France lags behind its European counterparts in terms of contact lens adoption rates.

Healthcare spending in France is also on the rise, with consumption of medical care and products expected to reach between €230 and €240 billion by 2022. Contact lenses represent only a small part of the medical optics market, around 6%.

Online sales have grown significantly since they were legalized in 2009, with the impact of the 2014 Hamon law and subsequent regulatory changes.

Some players in the French contact lens market

International laboratories and manufacturers

  • Johnson & Johnson :
  • Bausch & Lomb: contact lenses, eye care products
  • CooperVision: specializing in contact lenses

French laboratories

  • LCS: laboratory specializing in high-end customized lenses

Optician chains

  • Afflelou: Afflelou, one of France's leading optical chains
  • Krys: Krys stands out for its extensive network of stores across France.
  • Optic 2000 : Known for its cooperative business model
  • Atol

Pure Player

  • DirectVision: specialized online retailer
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

Contact lenses are a type of optical equipment consisting of a thin lens placed on the eye to correct a visual problem, treat an eye defect or improve appearance. Together with corrective eyewear and sunglasses , they form part of the category of optical equipment. This study will consider the entire contact lens value chain, from manufacture to distribution and consumption by the end customer. However, particular attention will be paid to corrective lenses rather than therapeutic or cosmetic lenses, as corrective lenses account for a very large share of the contact lens market in France.

Growing slowly at the turn of the century, the contact lens market in France has been reinvigorated since 2014 by a series of laws and new lein particular, the formalization of online sales has profoundly altered the structure of the market. The market experienced very strong growth after the pandemic (+15.2% between 2020 and 2021), due to changes in behavior or the resumption of habits following the recovery. Despite a dip in 2022 due to global inflation, the market is expected to resume growth from 2023 onwards.

While the contact lens manufacturing market is rather condensed, the distribution market is much more fragmented, with the number of optician outlets steadily increasing since 2007. The French contact lens market is growing , and its share of the optical market is also increasing: by 2022, it will account for 7.7% of the medical optical market . Nevertheless, it faces new challenges: connected lenses, less polluting lenses, changes in behavior with the democratization of surgical masks...

1.2 Global market growth

Within a global optics market valued at nearly *** billion euros in ****, the global contact lens market weighed in at around *.* billion dollars in the same year. The contact lens market grew by +**.*% between **** and ****, before dropping by *% in ****, notably due to global inflation, discouraging consumers and prompting them to forego purchases ...

1.3 The booming domestic market

The French contact lens market reached around *** million euros in ****[***]. The French contact lens market grew by +**% between **** and ****, representing very intense growth over the period. What's more, it has grown faster than the French optical market, accounting for an increasingly significant share of that market: it represented *% of the market ...

1.4 Foreign trade

France's trade balance for contact lenses is heavily in deficit, with imports in **** amounting to $***.* million, compared with exports of just $**.* million. Imports, on the other hand, grew by +**.*% between **** and ****, a sign of a very strong recovery in world trade following the restrictions imposed by the health crisis. In ****, France's ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Demand still marginal but with potential

The French still wear few contact lenses, both in comparison with other European countries and in relation to the number of spectacle wearers.

The French prefer glasses

In ****, around * out of * French people will have corrective eyewear. Poor visual health tends to increase with age. Indeed, while **% of **-** year-olds need ...

2.2 Healthcare spending on the rise in France

Consumption of medical care and goods, including contact lenses, has been rising steadily for several years. This expenditure represented ***.* billion euros in ****, and reached ***.* billion euros in ****, or *.*% of French GDP. Over the period, consumption has therefore risen by **.*%. It is estimated that in ****, annual consumption of medical care and goods ...

2.3 French preferences

Reasons for choosing lenses

While discomfort is the main reason why contact lenses are abandoned(***), contact lens wearers point to numerous advantages over glasses.

Reasons for wearing contact lenses France, ****, in Source: ****

France's favorite opticians

In ****, France's favorite optical brand is Optic ****. This top ranking is primarily due to the richness ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Value chain

The care pathway and the different healthcare professionals involved

Only an ophthalmologist can issue a prescription for contact lenses, but not all ophthalmologists practice contactology. During the appointment, the specialist examines the eyes through various tests, then draws up the prescription according to the person's specific needs. The first prescription is ...

3.2 Contact lens manufacturing

The contact lens manufacturing sector is highly concentrated, dominated by a handful of laboratory manufacturers, including Bausch & Lomb, Ciba Vision, Cooper Vision, Johnson & Johsnon, Menicon... These laboratories are major international groups.

Among the French laboratories manufacturing contact lenses is LCS, specialized in premium made-to-measure lenses. The company holds a patent for ...

3.3 Distribution and profitability

Contact lens distribution

Here we consider the data provided by NAF code **.**A "Optical retailing", which includes the activities of opticians. Note, however, that this code does not include all types of lens distributors. In contrast to the lens and eyewear manufacturing activity, the number of establishments and employees increased between ...

3.4 The boom in online sales since they became official

Online contact lens sales accelerated sharply with the formalization of Internet lens sales in **** (***). In ****, while only *% of French people believe they will favor online purchases for their optical expenses, this figure rises to **% for contact lens purchases[***]. The digitalization of the sector is therefore booming.

This liberalization has also altered ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 The different types of contact lenses

By type and lifespan

Depending on how they're made, lenses can be soft or rigid, and they don't all require the same frequency of renewal. The choice among all these parameters is made by the ophthalmologist when prescribing lenses.

Soft lenses

Soft lenses can be daily, bi-monthly or monthly. The most ...

4.2 An upward trend in lentil prices

If we consider the data provided by INSEE for the "medical optics" category, we observe that the consumer price index for medical optics items has been on the rise since ****, gaining +*.*% over ****-****[***].

Consumer price index for medical optics France, ****-****, base *** in **** Source: ****

Annual budget of a contact lens wearer ...

4.3 Supply trends

Lenses and the environment

The contact lens market is particularly polluting, especially as many consumers use daily lenses. According to an American study published in the NY Times, around **% of contact lens users flush their lenses down the toilet or sink. This waste then inevitably finds its way into the oceans, ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Regulations governing the sale of contact lenses

Prior to ****, internet sales of healthcare products (***) were prohibited in France. The European Commission then obliged France to open up the market to online opticians, but the market remained without a legislative framework for several years following this decision. The online sale of optical products was then gradually regulated by a ...

5.2 Social Security reimbursement

Assurance Maladie covers only a very small proportion of contact lenses, and mainly those prescribed for reasons other than the correction of a visual problem. The lenses covered are those prescribed for the following reasons:

Irregular astigmatism Accommodative squint Myopia greater than or equal to * dioptres Aphakia Anisometropia up to * diopters ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation

  • Bausch & Lomb
  • Johnson & Johnson Vision Care
  • Cooper Vision
  • Laboratoires Alcon - CIBA VISION
  • Atol Les Opticiens
  • Afflelou
  • Krys Group
  • Direct Optic (Acuitis Groupe)
  • Sensee
  • Menicon

List of charts presented in this market study

  • World market for contact lenses
  • Number of establishments under code 32.50B
  • Workforce under code 32.50B
  • Consumption of medical optics and contact lenses
  • Main customer countries
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Latest news

Krys Group puts the finishing touches to the modernization of its Bazainville plant - 08/03/2024
  • -Investment in expansion and modernization program: 23 million euros
  • - Post-renovation manufacturing capacity increase: 30%
  • - Planned production capacity: 1.8 million units per year
  • - Krys Group sales in 2023: €1.265 billion
  • - Number of associates: around 900, representing 1,600 points of sale
  • - Supplying around a thousand independent opticians
  • - Krys Group plans to open 400 additional stores by 2028.
Record growth for Atol in 2023 - 01/03/2024
  • Atol cooperative sales in 2023: 455 million euros
  • - Atol cooperative growth rate from 2022 to 2023: 6.3%
  • - Number of Atol Audition outlets from 2022: 47
  • - Target number of Atol Audition outlets in the next 12 months: 100
Krys group: innovations for the ecological transition - 06/02/2024
  • Codir, a subsidiary of Krys Group, grouping together its industrial and logistics activities, will produce 1.4 million lenses by 2021
  • The subsidiary employs 330 people
  • Krys Group generates sales of 1.2 billion euros, and has 1,533 stores in France, as well as around 50 in Belgium, Poland and Morocco.
  • With its two other banners, Le Collectif des lunetiers and Lynx Optique, the Group has a 16.5% market share in France.
  • Its ambition is to open a further 400 outlets by 2028.
  • Over the past ten years, it has expanded into the hearing sector, with 277 centers.
Atol: Eric Plat looks to the future - 09/01/2024
  • Lexilens reading aid glasses for dyslexics are marketed in 36 countries.
  • In France, over 5,000 people use these glasses.
  • Atol Les Opticiens was founded in 1970. Atol is planning a consulting service for companies on dyslexia in the workplace.
  • Atol's sales were 503 million euros in 2023.
  • Atol plans to market a new screen with Lexilens technology within the next three years.
  • Atol plans to open 40 new optical and hearing stores in 2024, adding to the 825 existing stores.
Afflelou innovates: discount, private labels and teleconsultation - 04/12/2023
  • Brand stores grew by 5% in the fiscal year to July 31, to 876 million euros, of which 64% in France, 26% in Spain and 10% in other countries such as Switzerland and Belgium.
  • In France, performance in the optical sector was 6.4%, outperforming the market, which grew by 4.1%.
  • The family increased its shareholding to 30% with the purchase of the Apax Partners fund's stake.
  • Optical eyewear accounts for 92% of sales, while hearing aids account for just 8%.
  • Of the group's 1,440 outlets, 510 are equipped with a dedicated hearing aid area.
  • The company has set up teleconsultation booths in 180 stores, with 10,000 teleconsultations to be carried out by 2023.
  • Prescription optical sales account for 82% of business.
  • An identified potential of 150 new units in France and 75 in Spain, and an increase of 45 openings in one year.
  • Afflelou's own-brand products already account for 60% of the offering.
Atol calls for full reimbursement of "Made in France" eyewear - 27/06/2023
  • Atol les Opticiens: cooperative group with 800 outlets
  • Relocation of production since 2005
  • Atol founded in 1970 Over one million orders and more than 3.2 million products processed and delivered by 2022
  • Around 1,000 employees
  • Sales of €428 million in 2021, up 3.4% year-on-year
  • Atol les Opticiens plans to open 40 new points of sale in 2023.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Bausch & Lomb
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care
Cooper Vision
Laboratoires Alcon - CIBA VISION
Atol Les Opticiens
Krys Group
Direct Optic (Acuitis Groupe)

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