A Global Overview, Leverage And Growth Of Optics Industry In MENA

This post is also available in: العربية

GfK, the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information, presented its latest overview of the optics market and the findings from the UAE & KSA sectors. The results are an eye opener…

Gfk presented the results of this study during the 19th edition of Vision-X in November 2018 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. As per the latest GfK report, contact lenses and spectacle frames contribute to majority of the revenue in the Global Optics industry. Over 60% of the contribution comes from five EU nations (GB, IT, FR, ES & DE).

MENA region

There has been an overall slowdown in the U.A.E. & K.S.A. markets, mainly due to the after effects of an economic downturn. The introduction VAT, the rising cost of living and education coupled with the tougher job market have led to a fall in consumer confidence, making residents and tourists alike, increasingly cautious in their spending. This trend has continued through 2018 across various sectors such as Consumer Electronics, IT and appliances. The slowdown in the optics industry in the United Arab Emirates has been considerably low – as per this report.

However, the contact Lenses sector recorded growth within UAE mainly driven by the modern channel for the year of 2018. Contact lenses demand grew 4.4% compared to the same period in 2017, pushed up by daily contact lenses.
In the recent POS audits for UAE, it was found that the demand for both prescription and beauty lenses has increased – growing 3.2% and 5.7%, respectively.

Universe count in KSA

GfK, the global market research organisation runs frequent census counts of retailers in the market; in KSA their latest Universe count (July 2018) found that Makkah, Riyadh and Eastern Province contain 81% of the optician stores in the country. Only 33% of the stores have an optometrist present (either full-time or part-time). Currently 80% of the stores handle coloured contact lenses while 73% of the stores handle clear contact lenses. Fashion sunglasses on the other hand have witnessed a demand showdown. It is expected that the retail scene of optics store will see a change upon the completion of Saudization that is being applied across twelve retail sectors in the KSA.

More Color In MENA

There are noteworthy differences in the trends observed in the MENA region when compared to the rest of the world. Coloured contact lenses holds a higher weightage in the MENA region, where this category amounts to over 50% of the total contact lens sale in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Technology and future trends

In terms of technology, the new generation silicon hydrogen material continues to gain traction over traditional hydrogen. Accordingly, retailers are recomended to promote the sales of silicon hydrogen contact lenses as they provide better returns. Daily disposal Silicon-hydrogel are proving to be the key driver in every region. Other segments such as daily disposal traditional hydrogel and reusable silicon-hydrogel remain strategically important.

2018 continued to witness promotional offers to encourage consumers to shop. Many chained retailers offered deals such as buy-one-get-one-free on pairs of spectacles or buy-two-get-one-free on boxes of contact lenses, indirectly absorbing the cost of 5% VAT.

On a concluding note

The impact of the economic downturn has been significantly low in the Optics industry; with positive growth for contact lenses (UAE).
Beauty contact lenses are hugely popular in the Arab world and is continuing to grow its presence in the region
As per the latest universe Census (July 2018) of K.S.A., majority of the optitian stores are located in Makkah, Riyadh and Eastern Province; the scene is expected to change soon with the implementation of Saudization.
As of now, retailers should focus on promoting contact lenses with silicon hydrogen technology.

Article authored by:

Trompess Francis, Business Group Manager HA & L, GfK
Rinki Grewal, Manager Client Solutions – Optics, GfK
Amrata Menon, Market Analyst – Optics, GfK


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