Market Report- Action Sports Sunglasses


One of the important things that The Vision Council does and is funded by their members is look at trends in the optical market. They do this various ways of which one is to poll consumers to ask them about various eyecare subjects.  The latest report, which is titled the Action Sports Sunglass Report is important information for vendors and eyecare professionals.

Since the first X-treme Sports in 1995 the Action Sports Market has grown to over 22 million participants. In the beginning the Action Sports audience were the young and unconventional that wanted to show their rebellious spirit by doing what others would not. Advertisers followed suit, trying to build their brand with the ‘cool’ kids and capture a long term customer. While the True Action Sports has more to do with skateboarding, snowboarding, BMX and surfing the 12-18 year old,  the carry over to other sports is tremendous. According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, the global sports industry was expected to generate close to $135 Billion in 2013, which is about a 4% annual growth. In another report, in the United States there are about 118 Million people (age 6+) that participated in extreme sports at least once in 2009.

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Image: Courtesy of The Vision Council

For Eyecare professionals, this is a huge opportunity to capture the market of all ages. First you have the 1.) Safety sunwear (Wiley X ANZI standards) 2.) Technology like Zeal Googles (Maui Jim), 3.) Specialty (Goggles, Wraps, Helmuts) and 4.) Performance lenses. Lets know forget about #5)  The Cool Factor. All in all things, one must be cool when performing.

There is a lot of competition in this market. Lots of young ‘kids’ are trying to break in, add in some crowd-funding and voila you have about 600 US companies vying for those dollars. Despite the competition and what I personally love to see, many of these brands are members of The Vision Council. Oakley, RayBan (Luxottica) Quilksilver and Roxy (A&A Optical), Maui Jim, Bolle (Bushnell) Costa Del Mar (Essilor) Spy, Dragon (Marchon/VSP) Smith (Safilo) WileyX, Kaenon, Shwood, Under Armour, Hobie (EyeKing) Arnette and VonZipper have gone to Vision Expos. As an aside both Liberty Sport and Hilco offer Sports Eyewear and they are members of the Vision Council.

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Image: Courtesy of The Vision Council

This is a sad statistic, but it does offer educational opportunities for eyecare professionals. 83% have not purchased sunglasses or goggles to be used primarily for Action Sports.

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Image: Courtesy of The Vision Council

Only 68% use sunglasses or goggles when participating in water sports. Looking at the cup 1/2 full, that means that 32% of those that engage in water sports need polarized lenses. Wouldn’t you love to capture that market?

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Image: Courtesy of The Vision Council

What lenses are they wearing? Polarized is the top, we already knew that, but if they are looking at true performance, what about yellow lenses at the least? Mirrors….

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I thought this was interesting and what would be even more interesting is how your lens color statistics match with this?

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 37.5% purchased the specific color tint because they liked the look of the lens color? What about performance under weather conditions?

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Are you asking about each of these sports and whether or not they wear sunglasses? If they are not, why not?

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The good news is that eyecare professionals are listed. The bad news only 13.6% purchased sport sunglasses at the local eyecare office. The majority are buying sunglasses from a sporting good store with 20.8% purchasing online. The question arises, how can you capture that market?

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Comfort, Durability and UV are the top attributes of purchasing premium Action Sports Sunglasses. Look at the stats on Eye Doctor recommendation, not too good.

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We have featured a few of the highlights of this report from over 8,800 consumers. In evaluating it seems there is a lot of potential for eyecare professionals to offer an assortment of premium sports sunglasses and goggles. The market is growing, what you have to decide is how to capture the market.


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