Light at the end of the tunnel can be seen much sooner than most predictions

'Light At The End Of The Tunnel' Can Be Seen Much Sooner Than Most Predictions

Business turnover in optical stores has fallen by more than fifty percent and in some region, it is said to be as low as ten percent. Optimism, hope and right actions in the right direction are the call of the day to look forward to happier days again. 

If COVID threat and a bad business is the trending topic of conversations among people in business, another topic that’s being discussed in keen interest is about the prevailing anti-China sentiment among people and the scope for making make in India concept a success. VisionPlus takes these two topics to a few heads of business houses in the country to have their point of view. Akash Goyle, Country Manager and Managing Director Luxottica India shares his thoughts on both the topics.

Impact of Covid-19 on Optical Industry 

Whenever there is an existential crisis, there is a tendency to overestimate its impact in the short term and underestimate the impact in the long term. The same is true even for the current Covid-19 crisis and its impact on our Optical industry. Faced with low demand, rising costs, supply chain disruptions, labour issues, etc. it is easy to predict doom. But we must not forget that the fundamentals of the Optical industry remain strong and if we all maintain a positive, evolutionary and consumer-centric attitude – the proverbial 'light at the end of the tunnel' can be seen much sooner than most predictions. 

Please click on image to view Flipbook edition of the article

The long-term impact of the Covid-19 crisis will be largely driven by the fundamental shifts in consumer behaviour and one of the key areas is the sharp increase in the importance of “health, wellbeing & hygiene” in the minds of the Consumer. Businesses will have to adapt their protocols to address these concerns at all touchpoints with consumers. I expect that some of the safety protocols that are being followed inside the stores today will become standard practices, and customers will demand these as a part of Quality Vision Care services.

 Another area that will see a strong impact and accelerated change is the blurring between the digital and physical worlds. As more and more consumers are experimenting and becoming comfortable with the use of digital shopping tools and augmented reality, their expectations from their long-trusted opticians will also rise. Post-Pandemic, as Consumers start venturing out to Physical stores seeking an immersive shopping experience, they will also start expecting these digital tools to enhance their in-store experience and make their shopping more engaging. I can already see the more progressive opticians drawing up plans and investing in digital tools both to extend their stores to consumer’s homes as well as to enhance the shopping experience inside the stores. Brands will also significantly increase their digital footprint and work as catalysts in helping opticians achieve the desired level of digitization.

The third important area is the potential emergence of new and lasting product categories – such as protective eyewear for everyday use, eyewear to save from alleged harm from the light of screens we are all increasingly exposed to or eyewear to protect from other harmful elements. While some of these products exit – it is their importance and sales that will continue to see a dramatic increase, and from manufacturers, there will be considerable investment in developing new technologies and product features in response to the need for protection. 

Make in India prospects

India has the knowledge, capability, skilled manpower, and the consuming power to be a manufacturing hub and in terms of pure input costs, supported by a large market within India, we will certainly be competitive if not better than other foreign sources. But historically our progress has been impeded by the difficult policy environment governing setting-up and running of manufacturing operations. Over the past few years and months, however, many steps have been taken in the right direction especially concerning direct and indirect taxation and simplification of manufacturing businesses governing rules. There is a clear and accelerated effort on behalf of the government to promote local manufacturing and the consumers have largely supported this move. 

In terms of the optical industry; I believe that with the right push from brand owners, retailers, and consumers, we can shift a substantial part of the volume business to India. Luxottica Group has been manufacturing in India for almost 30 years, investing continuously in the local manufacturing unit to increase its capacity and capability to service the local market. In the long term, with more brands moving significant part of their sourcing to Made in India, the ecosystem of supplier and vendors for raw materials, spare parts, design, machinery, and processes will develop rapidly and might ultimately acquire a scale where India can become a significant player in the global supply chain of Optical Industry. 

Current Issues



South East Asia