SETTING SIGHTS ON GLASSES
Written by: Zama Ngcoya
According to Euromonitor International, eyewear has posted solid current value growth in 2016 despite the weak economic conditions and declining disposable income in South Africa. Growth is partly stemming from the strong performance of sunglasses. With the majority of the population made up of low income consumers, growth in some categories is being heavily constrained. For example, contact lenses has posted stable current value growth relative to 2015 and it is a mature category which is driven primarily by middle to high income earners. Demand for spectacles and contact lenses is primarily need based with purchases made only when the need arises rather than on impulse.
They further added that social media and fashion have driven growth in Sunglasses and it has seen the most dynamic current value growth in 2016 with it being driven by conscious consumers who want to emulate the lifestyles of famous celebrities.
Euromonitor International further added that Optical Shops remain the primary distribution channel. South African consumers go for an eye test before buying spectacles or contact lenses and rely on their opticians for advice. They are still averse to buying eyewear online without proper medical advice and the ability to try on the products. This is especially true when it comes to spectacle frames which is viewed as an investment and something which affects the wearer’s appearance. However, some online retailers are trying to lure consumers into buying online by offering free home trials and free delivery. Apart from free delivery, discounting tactics like additional discounts for returning customers are also being used to appeal to online consumers. Although this is likely to work with the younger generation who are increasingly resorting to online shopping, the older generation on the other hand still prefer to go into a store and speak to their optician before making a purchase. Some of the older generation of consumers have been going to the same optician or optical store for years and so perceive them as being reliable, and will not want to jeopardise their relationship and routine by going online.
Although the month of October is one which, amongst other important dates within the month, the importance of proper eye care is given more emphasis, this however remains to be a subject that is an issue all-year-round.
Journalismiziko consulted with optometrist Nabeela Yusuf, who shed some light on the topic.
Yusuf explained how regularly an eye-test should be conducted.
“An eye test is recommended every two years except in the case of children or diabetics in which case annual examinations are advised,” said Yusuf.
Yusuf further explained that eye problems encountered by people differs according to their race.
“Different race groups experience different eye problems. Asians are more likely to be short sighted due to genetics and Caucasians are more likely to experience eye disease due to exposure to UV,” Yusuf explained.
Yusuf further added that different age groups experience different problems, however most eye-related issues are experienced in the elderly stages.
Yusuf stated that Prescription glasses are used to correct vision. The patients can either be short sighted (myopic), far sighted (hyperopic), astigmatic or presbyopic and that the risks involved in using prescription glasses which do not belong to you are eye strain, headaches, blurred vision and even a possible worsening of your vision.
For Langelihle Hlahla, wearing glasses is nothing new to him.
“I wear glasses because I am short sighted. I began in grade 6 after my optometrist said not wearing them would cause further damage to my eyes,” explained Hlahla.
He said that some of the difficulties he has experienced is not being able to see much when he does not have his glasses on, and having to squint when he wants to make out what is happening wherever he is facing.
Thembelihle who has been a victim of bullying because of the prescription glasses which she wears, advised people against making a mockery of those who wear prescription glasses, and encouraged people to take very good care of their eyes, and resting as much as they can.
*Caption: Prescription glasses, a big part of eye care.