The Glasses Market in China — Update 2020

China Glasses Market overview

Nowadays, with the growing consciousness among Chinese consumer about the importance of regular eye checkup and proper eye protection, the eyewear market is rapidly developed over the year. The glasses are perceived as an accessory of fashion, which motivates consumers to buy multiple products from eyewear for more fashionable or better quality options.

The eyewear market in China

The glasses market is subdivided in many important areas: there are the classical glasses, sunglasses and contact lenses. In 2018, the total Chinese eyewear market volume was 64 billion yuan, an increasing by 6% compared to the previous year. 

China has more than 1.4 billion population in 2020, and it not only has the largest potential in the eyewear market, but is also the leading manufacturer of eyeglasses.

The large myopia rate in China

According to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, China has a large myopia rate of 33% in particular among young consumers. More than 400 million of Chinese people are myopic and wear glasses. China has been reached a high record in myopia, today up to 90% of the Chinese population are short-sighted while 60 years ago, this number only reach 10 to 20%.

The rate of myopia occurrence in primary schools, junior high schools, and senior high schools is 25%, 70%, and 85% respectively, due to important hours of classes in schools as well as the excessive use of electronic devices, such as computers, tablets and smartphones.

China has one of the highest frequency cases of myopia in the world and its myopic population is expected to increase by 8% on average annually.

With the rising disposable incomes, Chinese consumers are paying more attention about their health and protection of their eyes. So they are very careful when they are choosing glasses, because they preferred to buy glasses of higher quality.

Consumers are attaching greater importance to the ornamental qualities more than the practical functions of the spectacles they buy. Especially for their children, parents want to find the best in the world for them.

It is increasingly trendy to purchase luxury glasses in China.

The Chinese market eyewear sells more than 50 million pairs annually, nearly 20 billion Yuan. The residents of small towns buy new glasses once every three or four years unlike those in the cities change approximately every two years.

The Sale of sunglasses has increased in China.

glasses market

Influenced by the celebrities’ style and the social media, there is a rise in the use of sunglasses as fashion accessories. This has contributed to a rise in demand for sunglasses, which is the one of the fastest-growing categories in eyewear in 2017. In 2018, the market sale has reached RMB10. 77 billion, with an increase of 7.3% from the previous year.

Chinese Eyewear Market is driving sales of spectacle frames, as luxury brands such as Jins, Ray Ban and Zoffs are providing fashionable sunglasses frames at affordable price.

Eyewear market turns towards high-end products in China

The eyewear market is very complex in China, mainly because of the barriers to entry for the manufacturers, including eyeglass frames, contact lenses, and sunglasses.

Thus, a large number of local brands are providing products to value added with low prices to attract massive consumers who are price sensitive.

However, thanks to the strong desire of Chinese consumers for premium and luxury products, they are increasingly aware of brands with technology improved and better quality.

Chinese eyewear products sale channels

Baolon online shop on Tmall – China’s largest B2C platform

The optical stores continue to dominate the sales channels while the internet has also made a contribution as a robustly developing distribution channel for sunglasses in China.

The optical stores represent the most important distribution channel for glasses and contact lenses. Consumers prefer to buy quality products and luxury brands in optical stores, because they can try it on.

In addition, optical stores provide a physical shopping for better professional experience service of optometry that consumers can easily seek to recommendations and information of the product from the salespersons in these stores.

E-Commerce can help eyewear brands reach out to more Chinese customers 

E-commerce is very popular in China. China represent 50% of the world e-commerce and 35.3% of Chinese retail sales occur online. Selling online in China can help you to reach more customers.

Online sales of optical products, especially contact lenses and sunglasses, are becoming increasingly popular in China. Online sales reportedly accounted for 10%-15% of total sales in 2016, with online sales channels complementing offline ones and online sales accounted for 9.8% of the overall eyewear market in 2018.

With the rise of the post-90s consumer market and the rapid development of online business, more eyewear brands establishing on online comprehensive e-commerce platforms such as, Taobao and JD, more consumers are ready to purchase eyewear online. What’s more, a number of online vertical eyewear e-commerce, such as Sigo and Yichao (亿超) have also emerged.

Landing page of Yichao — One of the largest vertical eyewear e-commerce in China

The O2O e-commerce model has also become popular in the Chinese eyewear market. This model consists of experience in physical stores and online purchases.

However, sales of eyewear through internet include more sales of sunglasses, contact lenses, as consumers are purchasing sunglasses as fashion accessories, and contact lenses depend less on experience in physical shops.

How can you market your sunglasses in China?

Website is your brand portal

Ray Ban Chinese website landing page

Chinese website is very important to develop a strong visibility and create an authentic source of brand news and  products launches in China. China is the largest world connected country, with nearly 900 million Chinese internet users. Chinese consumers spend more than 40% of their daily life on Internet. Chinese internet users trust more Chinese website than English website.

  • Moreover, your website should observe some rules to make sure that it will be easily found and has a nice feel-and-touch for the Chinese visitor.
  • It’s very important to be available for Chinese visitors. Don’t forget to have a 24/24h customer service able to reply to any queries anytime.
  • Your website should be hosted in China and nearby in order to have a fluent user experience.

Online Reputation is very important in China

Chinese consumers pay attention to the word of mouth and trust what they see on the net. So, it’s capital to build a good reputation about its company or its products and services so that Chinese will make purchasing decisions. Having a good reputation is one thing but keeping it, is another thing.

Online reputation management is also a good way to erase the bad contents on the web and taking your business to next step if done at an early stage and properly.

Bad e-reputation in China: customers stay away

A bad reputation can easily destroy your business in China because negative contents have this power to influence customers ‘decision and pushing down your brand image and you can lose your integrity and credibility among Chinese consumers.

In the era of the internet, Chinese consumer likes gathering information about everything through the internet. They are seeing the comments about your company and your product present in all online Chinese platforms.

Build a strong presence on the popular social media platforms and getting some attention from KOL (key opinion leaders) will boost your brand image and promote your conversion rate.

Chinese social media promote your brand awareness

The Chinese social media is totally different to western social media. 9 out of 10 Chinese internet users owns at least one account on social media. All the western social medias such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp are blocked by the ‘’great China Firewall’’, there are just a Chinese social media platforms such as WeChat, Weibo, Xiaohongshu, QQ and TikTok…

  1. WeChat(the Chinese Version of Facebook) is an audio/text instant messaging app, with more than 800 million active users. Wechat offers some functionality such as Wechat account for brand, Wechat pay, buy taxi, book reservation…
  2. Weibo, is the Chinese Twitter, with more than 550 million active users in 2020. If you want to be connected with Chinese customers you have to be present on WeChat and Weibo. You can create on both platforms an official account which will offer you special features.

On all these social media, you can send push notifications to your followers and share valuable content in text, video or images. In order to create leads, you have to publish relevant, authentic content that will push Chinese social media users to share, comment or like. Engage them and some of them may just be leads for your travel agency.

Chinese KOL / Influencers: essential for conversion rate

KOL (Key Opinion Leader) is now the most used approach by brands for reaching more and more Chinese consumers. KOL or influencer is now strong weapon marketing for brands. Through the million followers, Kol have the possibility to influence the Chinese consumer’s decision, because this latter trust more kol or influencer than any Chinese website.

Branding in China: get an agency and save ressources

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5 thoughts on “The Glasses Market in China — Update 2020”

  1. I want to market a new sunglasses Company in China, Can you manage from Production to supplyChain, Distribution and online sales ?

  2. You address their unique strategy, in Chinese. Their strategy is so simple, yet very hard for most brands to get right: They’re not only in the top position in their category… they’ve defended that position for years!

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