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FILE Online optics: Challenges and Opportunities

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The online optical market has experienced continuous growth for several years, supported by the increase in cases of myopia and presbyopia as well as technological innovations. However, despite this expansion, the purchase of glasses online remains a minority in France, representing only 7% of sales. What are the challenges and opportunities for opticians wishing to launch into online optics? What levers are needed to convince consumers and succeed in this booming market? This is the theme of our new file.

State of play of the online optical market

The online optical market has shown impressive growth in recent years. In 2021, it was estimated at more than $100 billion, and it is expected to continue growing at a rate of 8% per year until 2026 (source: Businesscoot). This growth is supported by several factors, such as the increase in time spent in front of screens, whether for work or leisure, which has led to an increase in vision problems such as myopia. The aging population also increases the demand for optical products. Finally, technological innovations , such as connected glasses and other high-tech innovations, are attracting more and more consumers.

Among the trends, we can also cite the rise of Made in France or the implementation of 100% health, which was able to boost the market by making optical products more financially accessible. In France, the optical market has a turnover of 6.6 billion euros, but only 6.8% of sales are made online. In comparison, Australia and the United Kingdom have online market shares of 20.7% and 16.2% respectively (source: Businesscoot). France is therefore in 15th position in the world for the online sale of optical products, behind countries such as the United States, China, Germany and Japan. The growth potential is therefore very interesting.


Among the promising segments, we find that of non-corrective glasses , which has particularly high growth potential, because it is less restrictive than corrective glasses. Contact lenses can also be considered a promising segment: the demand for contact lenses, daily or monthly, is increasing, offering an additional opportunity for online opticians.

[= ] It is especially in consumer behavior that change is most difficult, since the majority of them still prefer to buy their glasses in store, benefiting from the direct contact and personalized advice of an optician. We can also note a certain loyalty to the brand, very strong in the optics sector, which represents a challenge for online optics.

Challenges and opportunities of e-commerce for opticians

If only 7% of French people prefer to buy their glasses or lenses online, it is because there is a multitude of reluctance, including in particular taking measurements remotely, with precision of measures for corrective glasses more difficult to guarantee. The inability to make immediate adjustments can also affect customer comfort and satisfaction. Finally, the lack of personalized advice can also prove to be a barrier to online purchasing.

Other challenges arise when it comes to online optics, in particular a logistical point of view, such as product returns. Their management must be quick and efficient, to eliminate the risk of dissatisfaction with the product and service. Online opticians must integrate and optimize various touchpoints (live chat, telephone, website) to effectively respond to customer questions and concerns. Finally, managing stocks and inventories and listing them on the online platform in real time represents a major logistical challenge. To address this, automating sales processes, from inventory management to order personalization, is essential to reduce costs and improve efficiency. This requires the acquisition and mastery of specialized tools.

online purchase

But online optics also has many opportunities, because it allows an expansion of the market. Indeed, by digitalizing their sales channel, opticians can access a much larger market than in the context of a physical store. E-commerce also makes it possible to reduce certain operational costs associated with the management of physical stores, in particular real estate costs and personnel.

To boost this market, levers exist, such as home visits, the use of augmented reality , which allows the use of new technologies to allow customers to virtually try on the glasses on their face via their smartphone or computer. Personalized after-sales service is also a good way to build customer loyalty, by offering possible adjustments in store or by sending adjustment kits to your home.

Finally, Don't forget to highlight transparency regarding the origin of materials, manufacturing processes, and return policies to reassure customers. A cross-channel approach combining a web platform, a dedicated mobile application, and an active presence on social networks can reach a wider audience and improve customer engagement.

Future prospects for online optics

The future of online optics looks bright, thanks to a combination of technological advancements and changes in consumer behavior. While the sector has already experienced significant growth, several trends and innovations are likely to further transform this industry.

On the one hand, technological advances continue to play a crucial role . The integration of augmented reality and virtual reality allows customers to “try on” frames virtually, providing an interactive and personalized shopping experience. This technology, which simulates trying on glasses online, reduces uncertainty around the fit and appearance of frames , while improving customer engagement. In addition, remote measurement tools are becoming more and more precise, allowing opticians to offer perfectly fitting glasses without requiring a store visit.


Moreover, the increasing adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning makes it possible to optimize product recommendations and personalize the customer experience . These technologies analyze user preferences and behaviors to suggest frames and lenses tailored to their specific needs. This personalization increases customer satisfaction and promotes loyalty.

In addition, the rise of the omnichannel sales model is another key trend. Opticians who combine their physical locations with a strong online presence can provide a seamless and consistent customer experience. For example, a customer can try on frames in store and then complete their purchase online, or vice versa. This integration of sales channels not only expands the reach of opticians, but also improves convenience for consumers.

The online optical market also benefits a change in consumer attitudes , increasingly open to the idea of purchasing health products online. With awareness campaigns on the benefits of online shopping, including competitive pricing and flexible return policies, opticians can overcome remaining hesitancy. Finally, the consolidation of the sector, with collaborations and strategic partnerships, allows companies to innovate and position themselves as market leaders. In summary, online optics is evolving, offering unprecedented opportunities for opticians who know how to leverage technology and meet changing consumer expectations.

Sources: Les Echos Etudes , Crocodile-eye.com , clin d’œil.fr