China Eyewear Market: Top 10 Selling Eyewear Brands in China

Almost everyone in the world needs glasses at some point in their lives, and China is no exception. In fact, the Chinese market for eyewear is booming, with a growing demand for both prescription and non-prescription glasses.

China’s eyewear market accounts for $13.11 billion. China also has the largest number of eyewear manufacturers and the most complete eyewear products in the world. Indeed there are about 6 000 eyewear manufacturers in the eyewear market in China. In this blog post, we will check which brands attract massive consumers in the eyewear market there.

China Eyewear Market

Nowadays glasses are viewed more as one of the fashion accessories, which motivates consumers, to buy multiple items at once, to exchange at their will, and to trade up for more fashionable or better quality options. A large part Chinese population has myopia, in particular among young people.

Chinese people suffer from myopia, which increases the sales in the eyewear market

China has been gripped by a consequent rise in myopia, today up to 90% of the Chinese population is short-sighted while 60 years ago, this number only accounted for up to 10 to 20% of the global population. The rate of myopia in adolescents and students continues to increase partly because of long hours of classes in schools as well as the excessive use of electronic devices, such as computers, tablets, and smartphones.

This constantly growing myopic population supports the stable growth of consumer demand for glasses and contact lenses. Sunglasses have also recorded a noticeable growth in retail sales in recent years, particularly supported by the demand for regular consumption of the rate of myopia increasing in China.

The overview of China’s eyewear market

China eyewear market, contact lenses market, sunglasses market etc

The eyewear market in China accounted for $13.11 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow up to 416.42 billion by 2024. The segments in the eyewear industry in China are eyeglass frames and spectacle lenses, followed by contact lenses and sunglasses. All of those segments are constantly growing.

The US still has the biggest market (almost $30 billion in 2022), but it’s great news for foreign and local brands, as the market presents a big potential, as more Chinese customers will buy glasses, spectacle frames, contact lenses, and sunglasses in the near future.

About a quarter of the Chinese population rounding up to approximately 300 million Chinese citizens wear glasses or contact lenses. The Chinese market eyewear sells more than 50 million pairs annually. And what is more, almost 94% of the sales in the eyewear market in China are not luxury sales!

GMA Case Study Sunglasses Brand Promotion China

Online vs. Offline distribution channels

The pandemic impacted online sales of glasses. For the first time ever, online sales accounted for more than offline ones. Although the trends have gone down a bit, online and offline sales are still relatively balanced The optical stores represent the most important distribution channel for the glasses, contact lenses, and sunglasses segment. Optical stores continue to generate a lot of revenue in the eyewear market, as many consumers prefer to test the glasses before purchase.

Key players in the Chinese market

Ray-Ban 

Ray-Ban, the global leader in eyewear has opened the first premium eyewear online store (rayban.tmall.com) on Taobao Mall, the business-to-consumer (B2C) platform within Taobao and the most important distribution channel in China.

Ray-Ban’s E-store serves as a key avenue for the brand to launch exclusive premium collections and offer Chinese consumers a wide selection of original and iconic styles. The Ray-Ban online store is a platform for Chinese consumers to preview and purchase new product launches, available in China exclusively through the Ray-Ban Taobao Mall Store. 

The online store also offers Ray-Ban’s Asian Fit and Asian Design styles, which are tailored to better suit Asian facial characteristics and tastes.

Ray-ban Official Flagship Store – Tmall

Ray-Ban, one of the world’s most popular eyewear brands, announced that the all-around musician Jackson Wang is appointed as the brand’s global ambassador. Ray-Ban has recently launched a global new brand campaign, #ProudToBelong, a celebration of human moments that connects us to find our sense of belonging through emotions that we relate to Vulnerability & Empathy, Passion & Joy, Confidence & Pride. Among these feelings, passion is one of the strongest and Jackson Wang is the perfect embodiment of such passion. The proof is in his journey from being a successful athlete to a musician.

Christian Dior

Christian Dior commonly known as Dior, is a French luxury fashion house controlled and chaired by French businessman Bernard Arnault, who also heads LVMH, the world’s largest luxury group.

Tmall, owned by Alibaba Group, now offers more than 3,000 beauty brands and the proportion of well-known brands the platform supports to launch their online stores. The big-name brands which have official stores on Tmall rose to 84% in 2018 and have been constantly increasing ever since. According to Alibaba, over 3 million women buy at least five fashion and beauty items on Tmall every year.

Moreover, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, luxury and fashion brands are paying even more attention to Chinese e-commerce platforms. Just after launching the brand-new Bobby handbag collection, Dior in China had new, strategic moves.

Christian Dior – Baidu Brand Zone and Website Collection page

Luxury brands have started using WeChat Mini programs in order to insert themselves into China’s digital market and offer a professional experience service on the platform apart from physical shopping. For Chinese Valentine’s Day (Qixi Festival, 2016), Dior launched a WeChat mini program to sell its limited-edition Lady Dior China valentine bag. Chinese customers were able to choose the decorative embroidery patterns, as a result, the bag was sold out within a few hours on the first day of the WeChat Mini marketing campaign.

Chanel

Chanel is a French company producing haute couture, as well as ready-to-wear, accessories, perfumes, and various luxury products. It has its origins in the fashion house that Coco Chanel created in 1910.

The China market entry of Chanel started at the end of the 1990s. “香奈儿 Xiāngnài’er” is the Chinese version of the brand name of the company. In 1999, the brand opened its first shop in Beijing, since 2013 the brand has been increasing the number of luxury and optical stores located in China due to the demand of Chinese luxury consumers with rising disposable incomes. The brand also has a flagship store in Shanghai, inside the Peninsula hotel (2009).

Chanel decided to enter the Chinese market in the 1990s when the Chinese economy was booming. Whenever important economic growth occurs, the consumers will benefit from it and start to desire high-end products, and a proportion of them will become luxury consumers. Ever since this era, the Chinese luxury market has constantly been increasing every year, adding more sales channels to stimulate sales (especially when it comes to online purchases).

Chanel Chinese Website

Chanel is developing in the Chinese digital market, they now have their official Chinese website. The brand also made a deal with the e-commerce platform Tmall allowing Chanel to sell their quality products through the platform (2019). This allows Chinese consumers to buy quality products on websites. Most of the time, Chinese consumers go through the luxury brand website to see what they want to buy and then go to real stores to buy multiple products that they selected online.

Prada

Prada is one of the most iconic brands in fashion history. The designers behind the brand have continually tried to be innovative while maintaining their classic and refined style.

Italian luxury house Prada is finally getting in the same boat that many of its competitors who have joined the Chinese market months or even years prior, by launching flagship stores on two Chinese e-commerce platforms: Secoo and JD (2019).

PRADA 520 MATHEMATICS OF LOVE campaign

PRADA 520 MATHEMATICS OF LOVE campaign explores love in the context of this post-pandemic era, defining love as both universal and specific, timeless yet also connected to the current moment. Starring Prada’s brand ambassador Cai Xunkun, who previously starred in the brand’s Human Code project, the campaign consists of a series of short videos on Weibo, WeChat Channel, and Douyin.

To increase the campaign’s social engagement on the market in China, especially among young consumers, the brand designed a “Prada filter” that allows users to personalize posters with the Prada logo. This helped boost views of the campaign hashtag “Embracing New Norm” to an impressive 410 million.

Oakley

Oakley is an eyewear brand created by Jim Jannard in 1975 and operated by the Italian company Luxottica Group Milan. Oakley China has its first dedicated store, in Xinjiekou’s Deji Plaza, Nanjing, the Nanjing store is the first Oakley-only store in China, and it is not focused only on optical products. The Nanjing store follows the opening in Shanghai of a major store for the group, half Oakley and half Ray-Ban.

“One Obsession” is the name of one of Oakley’s campaigns (2015), which encouraged people to join the brand’s global network of athlete ambassadors in pursuing their obsessions and living out their passions.

Oakley Wechat – Official Account

Using the hashtag “#LiveYours” the social movement encouraged fans to join the more than 450 Oakley athletes in sharing and celebrating their favorite places around the world – ranging from a mountain peak to a secret surf spot. The brand then proceeds to reward the #LiveYours participants and those living out their obsession with surprise experiences and access to athletes who serve as inspiration.

Spanning 22 countries, the multi-channel campaign included digital, social, advertising, outdoor, and retail activations, live events, and an enhanced digital experience on the brand’s website. A film was also released on Oakley’s website and all social and digital channels, that features both professional and non-professional athletes.

Gentle Monster

Gentle Monster is a South Korean sunglasses and optical glasses brand founded by Hankook Kim in  Seoul in 2011. Global fashion eyewear brand Gentle Monster is expecting a bigger presence in the Chinese market by opening more stores and seeking various partnerships.

The Korean sunglasses company Gentle Monster announced 2019 the opening of their new Shanghai store via WeChat, the WeChat post took the role of an exhibition curator, using multimedia to explain the inspiration behind every detail. The theme of their Shanghai store was “The Mobitucture,” which is the speculative space in which humans live during the 13th month. The idea of 13 months was created by French animator and artist Ugo Bienvenu, the concept explored human society in a post-apocalypse time, named 13 months. 

Gentle Monster x Wujinyan on Weibo – Shanghai Store Opening

At the end of the post, users had the opportunity to purchase the featured oversized and low bridge-fit sunglasses at low prices (between $200 to $500) via the company’s Mini Program. As expected, the post attracted more than 13,000 page views and around 43 people recommended it. The post also included Chinese actress Wu Jinyan, in a gif format, exploring the interior of the newly opened store.

BOLON 

Bolon Eyewear, the number one domestic brand in China, offers high-quality optical sunglasses with a wide range of products to suit every personality. Bolon is one of the world’s largest spectacles manufacturers and China’s best-known sunglasses brand in the eyewear market. The Bolon brand is positioned as a premium lifestyle brand.

Bolon X Wang Junkai (TF boy – pop singer) on Weibo

Leading Chinese eyewear brand Bolon chose US actress Anne Hathaway to become its brand ambassador in China, Southeast Asia, and several other territories. She appeared in a campaign in 2016, which included TV advertising and the internet. A video and pictures were shot in Los Angeles, featuring the brand tagline “My Style, My Bolon”. More recently, Bolon worked with Gal Gadot for a photoshoot series.

The brand collaborates with numerous Chinese Kols and pop stars as well. Campaigns that bring thousands of views and comments each time.

Gucci

Gucci (also known as Maison Gucci) is an Italian company specializing in ready-to-wear and luxury leather goods, founded in Florence in 1921 by Guccio Gucci.

Gucci joined China’s social media luxury market relatively late compared to other luxury brands, but now Gucci sets social media aesthetic standards. The brand has been able to connect with Chinese consumers in a way no other luxury brand has been able to achieve, becoming increasingly popular in big and small towns.

Interview of Gogoboi by Gucci on their official Bilibili Account

Gucci seems to understand better than most luxury brands that social media is not a marketing tool but an extension of the brand. Gucci also seems to design its fashion for social sharing. What’s most interesting is that Gucci’s dominant performance is a global phenomenon.

Gogoboi (Ye Si, 叶嗣) partnered with Gucci to launch his 2017 Holiday Collection on his official WeChat account. This is the first time Gucci offered exclusive online sales via a third-party platform, specifically through a WeChat mini program with a KOL in China. The outcome was worth it as within 5 days, all of the promoted items were sold out.

Burberry

The Burberry brand dates back to 1856 and rose to fame when Thomas Burberry invented the waterproof gabardine fabric used in outerwear. The Burberry eyewear brand was born a century and a half later, in 2006.

In 2010 Burberry bought out its first Chinese franchise partner for a £70 million deal, allowing the brand to have greater control over its presence in China. Burberry has over 57 stores in 31 cities in Mainland China, including eight in Beijing, nine in Shanghai, and three in Hangzhou.

Burberry in China has accumulated about 1.51 million followers on Weibo, and the number of followers on the Tmall sales platform has now reached 2.16 million and is still increasing.

Back in 2018, Burberry launched its Wechat Mini program on Wechat for Chinese Valentine’s day (Qixi), the mini-program campaign took the form of a game. The campaign encouraged fans to play the game with their partners. After completing the game, they were able to access Burberry’s latest collection, which included two Qixi bags sold exclusively in China.

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton, commonly referred to as LV, is a French fashion house founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton, it is a French multinational apparels and accessories company headquartered in Paris, France. The brand sells its products through standalone boutiques, lease departments in high-end department stores, and the e-commerce section of its website.

LV Pop-up Store in Beijing during Qixi and Post from LV Red Account

In June 2019, Louis Vuitton’s digital marketing innovation in China took another step, becoming the first luxury brand in mainland China to invite fashion bloggers to take over the brand’s official WeChat public account and the first luxury brand to open a Xiaohongshu account. Louis Vuitton’s Xiaohongshu account is aimed at improving visibility by raising topics and discussion on newly released products and the promotion on Xiaohongshu is mainly targeting young Chinese consumers.

Contact us to launch your eyewear brand in China

Creating and setting up an efficient digital marketing strategy, may not be within everyone’s reach, but with our help, you can efficiently achieve your goals.

Gentleman Marketing Agency is an agency based in Shanghai, China. We are specialized in digital marketing with different services including lead generation, e-commerce, and branding.

You can contact us to discuss your project with us, we would gladly help you!

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