Summary of our market study

The French sunglasses market will be worth 6.7 billion euros in 2021 . The market is growing at a modest annual rate of 1.21%.

The global sunglasses market, an integral part of the eyewear industry, is experiencing modest growth, with demand driven mainly by fashion trends and ongoing product innovation. The global market is expected to grow from $21.4 billion to an estimated $24.1 billion by 2023.

Sunglasses account for 17% of total eyewear sales, with worldwide sales reaching 860 million units, representing a 9% share of the total volume of eyewear sold worldwide.

The sector is characterized by an oligopolistic structure, dominated by powerful entities such as the Luxottica, Safilo, Walker and Marcolin groups, which together hold significant control over brands and manufacturing through licensing agreements.

Marketing strategies focus on online searches. Despite the rise of e-commerce, which accounted for 5% of sunglasses sales in France, in-store purchases still account for the vast majority.

The production process for sunglasses involves complex stages, from design and material selection to manufacturing. Titanium and carbon fiber are among the preferred materials for their durability and lightness.

Luxury brands are looking to internalize manufacturing to gain greater control over their products. The challenge of counterfeiting jeopardizes brand integrity and consumer safety.

Diversity of demand and trends in the sunglasses market

An important factor influencing demand is consumer age. Younger customers aged 18 to 34 allocate an average budget of around 80 to 90 euros for sunglasses, while people over 55 spend approximately 150 to 170 euros.

A large proportion of buyers, around 40%, set themselves a sunglasses budget of less than 50 euros, and around 20% are prepared to spend more than 150 euros. Consumers are attracted by high-end brands, even if they maintain a moderate average budget.

Almost 60% of buyers spend less than 60 euros on sunglasses.

These choices underline the balance customers are seeking between affordable prices and the appeal of established, prestigious brands.

Demand for sunglasses is also determined by aesthetics, with vintage styles remaining popular.

A large majority of French consumers, around 65%, prefer to shop in-store rather than online.

Key market players


  • Krys has established itself as a reliable and well-established optician in France.
  • Alain Afflelou stands out for its versatile portfolio, including franchised stores
  • GrandVision is known for its extensive network of optical stores
  • Optical Center remains an important name in optical retailing
  • Optic 2000 is a major player


  • EssilorLuxottica is the industry behemoth, born of a merger
  • Safilo is recognized as a world leader in high-end eyewear
  • Walkera has a key position in the sunglasses market.

Department and specialty stores

  • Décathlon offers sunglasses designed to meet the needs of sports enthusiasts
  • Galeries Lafayette offers sunglasses on the cutting edge of fashion

Niche market players

  • Izipizi goes off the beaten track with its range of fun sunglasses
  • Lunettes pour Tous offers affordable prices
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition

Sunglasses protect the eyes from the sun, sometimes with vision correction built into the lenses. There are many variations of frames and lens types to suit different styles and needs. Sunglasses are not only a fashion accessory, but also essential for certain activities.

Sunglasses distribution is organized into :

  • chain stores
  • independent stores
  • mutualist optical centers
  • online (distributor's website or a brand's own website)

The global sunglasses market is growing slightly, as is the European market, while the French market is stagnating.

The sunglasses market is structurally driven by the evolution of fashions and styles , continually renewing the offer, even if the past successes of models that have become "classics" are also in vogue. It is also heavily dependent on the health of the optical market, which is currently in a slump.

The sunglasses market is unique in that it must give pride of place to physical points of sale, where the majority of purchases are made. Many consumers, after researching online, end up buying in-store.

The majority of volumes marketed under a brand name are in fact designed by a few groups with the appropriate licenses. This is another peculiarity of sunglasses production, concentrated around a few very powerful players. Recently, however, we have witnessed a rapprochement between sunglasses specialists and optics specialists, as well as the desire of certain brands to regain control over their production and thus integrate it into their own value chain.

Lastly, an understanding of the legal framework governing healthcare in France is necessary to analyze the market and its influence on the organization of sunglasses distribution.

1.2 A growing global market

Worldwide, sunglasses will account for **.*% of total eyewear sales in **** of total eyewear sales (***) for a total of $**.* billion and a forecast CAGR in value over the period ****-**** of *.*% [***]. In ****, *** million sunglasses were sold worldwide.

In contrast to the stagnant French market, worldwide sales of sunglasses grew by *% between **** and ...

1.3 Domestic market

Taking into account around **,*** optical stores to analyze the French market, we find that sales (***) of the eyewear market will amount to *.* billion euros in ****, an increase of **.*% on **** but only *. *% on ****. In other words, overall sales in the French market increased by *** million euros compared with ****, and by ** million euros ...

1.4 A market influenced by the optical sector

As opticians are one of the key sales outlets for sunglasses, the development of their market alongside that of sunglasses is important.

In ****, the optics market showed a negative trend for the first time, due in particular to an overall decline in purchasing power and more restrictive pricing conditions in healthcare ...

1.5. Foreign trade

Although France is not among the world's top * exporters of sunglasses - Italy, China, Hong Kong, USA and Germany in descending order - it is nevertheless the *th biggest exporter in this market. In ****, the export values of the various countries are : uS$ *,*** million, US$ *,*** million, US$ *** million, US$ *** million, US$ ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 A demand that differs according to several criteria: price, model, brand

The **** business report of the Krys group reports on a number of behaviors of French consumers in relation to the act of purchasing eyewear:

The budget allocated to sunglasses varies greatly with age. For example, **-** year-olds have an average budget of ** euros, while the over-**s have a larger envelope ...

2.2 Consumer buying habits

First of all, among French people over **, only **% own a pair of sunglasses without correction, **% own a pair with correction, and **% own none at all.

Breakdown of French over-**s by sunglasses owned France, ****, in Source: ****

The non-corrective sunglasses market is characterized by frequent use of most pairs owned, and a ...

2.3 Demand is concentrated in certain regions

This graph compares the share of sunglasses sales by region with the share of the French population by region. It shows that some regions buy more sunglasses in proportion to their population. The Île-de-France and PACA regions account for a higher proportion of sunglasses sales than their share of the population ...

3 Market structure

3.1 An oligopolistic market

One of the special features of the sunglasses market is the unchallenged reign of licenses, which account for almost ** % of volumes sold, declining by * to *% to the benefit of designer frames.

Four major groups share more than a hundred sunglasses licenses:

EssilorLuxottica: EssilorLuxottica is a world leader in the design, manufacture ...

3.2 The production process

The sunglasses value chain comprises * stages: design, manufacturing, logistics and distribution. A particular feature of the market and its production logic is the special role played by the licensing system.

The materials used

A wide variety of materials are used in the production of sunglasses, to a greater or lesser extent ...

3.3 Distribution under the influence of a complex network

After examining French consumer habits in terms of non-corrective sunglasses, we're going to look at French consumer trends in the sunglasses market as a whole.

Online sales accounted for *% of sunglasses purchases in **** in France. For **% opticians, e-commerce is not a serious threat to their business. In terms of sunglass distribution, ...

3.4 Value chain

A possible value chain for the sunglasses market is described below:

Conception and design: Sunglasses manufacturers conceive and design frames and lenses according to fashion trends, technological advances and quality requirements. Manufacturing: Manufacturers produce sunglass frames and lenses on a large scale, using materials such as metal, plastic, wood or titanium. Marketing ...

3.5 Strategic market issues

Changing industrial strategies

The sunglasses market is undergoing changes in its industrial strategies, linked in particular to the optical industry. The licensing system that dominates the market means a loss of control over brand image for luxury groups and brands, while the high margins available in the sunglasses market are prompting ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 A highly diverse offering

There are several ranges of sunglasses on the market. First of all, sunglasses can be divided into two categories:

Sports sunglasses ; Sunglasses for the fashion market

Within each of these two categories, it is possible to distinguish several price ranges that can be schematically grouped into * groups:

Entry-level eyewear ; Standard eyewear; High-end/luxury ...

4.2 The different eyewear ranges: a price determinant

The complexity and cost of eyewear frame production vary according to a number of factors, including the quality of the materials used.the complexity and price of spectacle frames vary according to a number of factors, such as the quality of the materials used, with top-of-the-range frames made from noble materials ...

4.3 A constantly adapting offering

The market for everyday sunglasses manages to reconcile technicality and style, but remains subject to fashion trends. For example, the use of natural materials is making a comeback in the sunwear industry, with seaweed, bamboo and paper being used in the manufacture of frames. There is also a trend towards transparency ...

5 Regulations

5. The DGCCRF framework

From a regulatory standpoint, the sunglasses market is subject to strict control by the DGCCRF. More than just an accessory, sunglasses are above all designed to protect the eyes from the impact of UV rays.

The DGCCRF requires pictograms to certify product conformity. In addition to the CE mark (***), the following ...

6 Positioning the players

6. Company segmentation

  • Optical Center
  • Optic 2000
  • Essilor Luxottica groupe
  • Safilo Group
  • Marchon
  • Printemps Groupe
  • Izipizi Paris
  • Lunettes pour tous
  • Sensee
  • Marcolin (LVMH Groupe)
  • Julbo
  • Kering Eyewear
  • Persol (Luxicotta group)
  • Ray-Ban (EssilorLuxottica)
  • Oakley
  • Vuarnet (LVMH Groupe)
  • Bolle Brands

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Top 10 spending per head in the sunglasses market
  • Global market size for sunglasses
  • Weight of different categories in optician sales
  • Most popular shapes of sunglasses on the Internet
  • Most popular eyewear brands in France
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Latest news

BBGR boosts Seine-et-Marne capacity by 30% to keep pace with growth in Nikon optical lenses - 30/03/2024
  • - BBGR is a subsidiary of EssilorLuxottica.
  • - The company has specialized in optical lenses for over 170 years.
  • - BBGR will increase capacity at its Provins site by 30% from April.
  • - The Provins site employs 235 people.
  • - The aim of this capacity increase is to meet strong demand for Nikon lenses, produced at Provins since 2016.
  • - Since 2016, volumes of Nikon lenses manufactured at Provins have increased 15-fold.
EssilorLuxottica passes the €25 billion sales mark - 15/02/2024
  • In 2023, the company spent 1.7 billion euros on R&D between 2020 and 2022, in particular to develop connected and/or hearing glasses. Before the summer, the company will inaugurate an optics laboratory (300 employees) in Wissous (Essonne). In the second half of 2024, its first hearing glasses will be marketed in the United States.
  • The product potentially concerns the 1.25 billion people affected by mild hearing loss.
  • To integrate a miniature hearing aid into a pair of glasses, the company acquired the Israeli start-up Nuance in 2022.
  • Its brand portfolio has expanded to include Moncler, Jimmy Choo, Brunello Cucinelli and Ferrari licenses.
  • 18,000 directly-operated stores in 150 countries, including 1,000 in France.
EssilorLuxottica integrates a hearing aid into its glasses - 09/01/2024
  • Launch of "Nuance" glasses that act as hearing aids.
  • Microphones camouflaged in the frames enable the wearer to concentrate on and amplify the voice of the person speaking
  • First equipment with virtually invisible hearing aids
  • While 1.6 billion people worldwide suffer from hearing loss, this figure is expected to rise to 2.5 billion by 2050
  • Nuance Audio glasses, which will be available in three models, will be sold by hearing aid practitioners, in EssilorLuxottica's distribution network (18,000 stores) and on the Internet.
  • Acquisition of Israel-based Nuance Hearing, which has developed a small tabletop device that amplifies sound
Ray Ban, Meta takes another step towards smart glasses - 07/11/2023
  • In 2021, the Meta Group announced a partnership with EssilorLuxottica to design connected eyewear.
  • The second generation of these glasses, called Ray Ban Meta, are now available in North America and Europe
  • These glasses enable users to take calls, listen to music, capture photos and videos in better quality than their predecessor, Ray Ban Stories, without the need for a phone.
  • Live videos can be broadcast on Instagram for up to 30 minutes from these glasses.
  • The Meta AI virtual assistant, another Ray Ban Meta feature, is not yet available to European consumers.
  • Ray Ban Stories, the previous version of Ray Ban Meta, sold around 300,000 units between September 2021 and February 2023.
  • Only 10% of their owners regularly use the connected functions.
  • To promote the Ray Ban Meta, EssilorLuxottica plans to provide its partner opticians with trial kiosks.
  • 250 points of sale are planned in France.
LVMH acquires Vuarnet eyewear - 06/09/2023
  • Thélios is LVMH's optical subsidiary, created six years ago (2017)
  • LVMH acquires sunglasses brand Vuarnet.
  • This is Thélios' first acquisition since its creation.
  • Vuarnet is an independent high-end optical brand founded in 1957.
  • Its sales peaked at 100 million euros in the early 1990s, and it sold over 1 million pairs in the United States.
  • Vuarnet sales fell to 10 million euros in 2007, and the company recorded a loss of around one million euros.
  • Current Vuarnet sales are around 15 million euros.
  • Vuarnet employs around fifty people in France.
  • Thélios sales are said to have approached 500 million euros last year (year unspecified).
  • Thélios produces 4.5 million pairs of glasses a year.
  • Thélios recently acquired the historic factory of its competitor Safilo, in Veneto.
Vuarnet joins the LVMH family - 05/09/2023
  • Thélios, the 100% LVMH-owned eyewear manufacturer, has acquired Vuarnet eyewear in December 2021.
  • This is the first acquisition for Thélios, which was founded in 2017.
  • The first eyewear license Thélios integrated came from the Celine brand in 2018.
  • Thélios' annual sales exceed 480 million euros.
  • Thélios produces eyewear for brands such as Dior, Fendi, Kenzo, Berluti, Loewe, and Rimowa.
  • In the 1990s, Vuarnet had annual sales of 100 million euros, with 1.5 million pairs of glasses sold
  • Vuarnet was acquired by the Neo Capital Partners fund
  • Vuarnet's current production is around a hundred thousand pairs of glasses.
  • The Vuarnet brand was created in 1957. Vuarnet has had a factory in Meaux, France, since 1986.
  • France is Vuarnet's leading market, followed by the United States, where the brand has two boutiques in New York.

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. :

Optical Center
Optic 2000
Essilor Luxottica groupe
Safilo Group
Printemps Groupe
Izipizi Paris
Lunettes pour tous
Marcolin (LVMH Groupe)
Kering Eyewear

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