Eye wear business Nov, 21 2014

A biz vision for clear profits

Right from organising road shows, activities and camps, eye wear brands are now doing their best to take the industry to an altogether new stratum. Fast rising competition in the eye wear industry is also raising the bar for standards and offerings by the

By Ekta Sharma Verma, TFW Bureau
Sr. Sub-editor
A biz vision for clear profits

It all started with the flocking of more international brands in India. Recently, online eyewear retailer Lenskart.com did a unique spectacular act by sending out optometrists on bikes equipped with eye-testing equipment to consumers in their homes. This is surely a brilliant example on how new and innovative things can be tried out by Indian brands to expand fast in the market. The eyewear market in India is comprised of various manufacturers that specialise in designing and producing eyewear products in different segments. Market in India is primarily driven by the revenues of a huge number of manufacturers in the unorganised segment. Bausch & Lomb dominated the contact lens segment in the year 2013 while Ray-Ban was the largest selling sunglass brand in the same year. With increasing number of Indians in the need of eyesight correction, the market offers a lot of opportunity to its players.

Indian Eyewear is currently a booming 21,000 crore market and is set to touch Rs 43, 000 Crore by 2015. The industry is definitely growing fast with a mix of international and home grown brands. Ray Ban, Benetton, Gucci, Police, Elle, Vogue, Versace, Dior, Steppers, Hugo Boss, Armani, Levis and many others have already invaded the Indian market with their eye wear range. Seeing the competition, Indian franchisors have a tough fight ahead.

Delhi-based brand, OPTIQUE is a strong player in the industry. It is a unique chain of healthcare retail centres, which has clubbed Eye Care & Hearing Aid products & services under one retail franchise roof, thus providing diverse healthcare solutions to its clients. Apart from an extensive array of qualitative Eye Care and Hearing Aid offerings, OPTIQUE also provide value added services such as advance Eye-Testing facility with an In-House Optometrist and Audiometric facility.          

Hyderabad-based retail optical chain; Value Vision is also fast expanding via franchise route. Value vision presently has 18 outlets- 10 in Hyderabad and eight in Bengaluru. It sells different types of frames (Branded and Private Labels), Multi branded Lens, sunglasses and all types of contact lens and solutions. Value vision has a separate training department for its staff. The brand keeps offering attractive offers like free gift on higher purchase and exciting offers on private labels to bring in more costumers. Dharmendra, Director-Operations, Value Vision says: “The sector is fast growing. With 25 Million internet users in India, most of us need Anti Reflection Coating lenses for computers. So, demand is definitely rising. Rising population and fashion is the key. Recurrence in contact lenses and trendy and fashionable frames brings in more youth to use better eye wear.”

Another brand, MarkVision eye care Pvt Ltd is offering best services in eye care.  From designer eyeglasses to contact lenses and more, one can get the best here. The brand follows a no royalty fee model. The brand has just hopped on to the franchise ship and currently it has three stores in and around Hyderabad. On the entry of international brands in India, Vasavi Aerabati, Managing Director, MarkVision eye care Pvt Ltd says: “There is definitely a space for Indian brands. If the Indian brands offer high quality products which are marketed properly and priced correctly they can give stiff competition to International brands. Brands like IDEE, IMAGE, and Fastrack are some of the examples of Indian brands which are top sellers in our stores.” Launched in 1998, Titan’s brand Fastrack became an independent urban youth brand in 2005. Since then, it has carved a niche for itself with watches and sunglasses that are refreshingly different and affordable. The brand started franchising in 2009 and currently holds its footprint in 80 cities. During the year 2013, Fastrack had signed 30 franchisees. It believes that the operational aspects of retailing are best handled by business associates as their local knowledge and dynamism provide a great value add.  This strategy has delivered optimum results in its retail channel and the brand has continued with it.

Penetration in Rural Areas

Most brands, be it home grown or an international brand, the challenge is rural areas penetration. There is a growing demand for better brands even in the tier III and IV cities but reach is missing. Value vision has several milestones to achieve. The brand plans to take the store count to 25 by 2015 and 50 till 2017 pan-India via franchisees. Dharmendra of Value Vision agrees that Yes, margins are more in private labels compared to brands. There is a challenge in rural market entry.  As buying power is less in rural areas, only private labels (which are comparatively less in price) can survive in those areas. Better discounts on private labels also help them to overcome the challenge.  Historically, Indians have considered eyewear as utility products. Unlike, earlier days, these days people have fast accepted the eye wear trends and are also keeping 2-3 pair of stylish eye wear with them as a style statement more than need. With the range fashionable and affordable range of eyewear from companies like Titan, people have started experimenting with their look too. In rural areas still there is lack of awareness about basic eye care related problems. By 2015 MarkVision plans to grow significantly to 20 plus stores in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and other parts of South India. The brand has been conducting free eye camps with its team of expert Optometrists in the rural areas. Till now the brand has conducted more than 50 eye camps in Hyderabad and nearby tier II and III cities and rural areas and donated several pairs of eye glasses to the needy people just to bring the change.

Besides the fast spreading online trend amongst the eye wear retailers, what is remarkable is the experimentation of colours amongst not just the youth but the elderly are also opting for hint of colours on their glass frame. Mirrored lenses in colours like pale pink, sky blue and yellow are in. So, with the growing trend and fast expansion of the brands, opportunities for investors are sure to increase. Choose the best brand according to your investment capacity and grab the opportunity in the soaring eye wear industry.

Eye catching strategies for biz growth

  • OPTIQUE provides value added services such as advance Eye-Testing facility with an In-House Optometrist and Audiometric facility.      
  •  MarkVision conducts free eye camps with its team of expert Optometrists in the rural areas.
  • Value Vision has a separate training department for staff.

Related: Enter Eyewear Retail, Earn Profits, Go Franchising

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