Online sales for eyewear: contact lenses and sunglasses

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

The eyewear market is rapidly growing in the United States. The market consists of four main categories: prescription glasses, sunglasses, over-the-counter readers and contact lenses. In 2013, the U.S. frame market for eyewear generated around $8.69 billion in retail stores, compared to $8.48 billion in 2012. If we examine the statistics of lens sales, we see that the U.S. lens market generated around $10.41 billion in retail sales. In 2011, the retail sales of lenses amounted to around $9.5 billion, while 2010 saw sales of about $9.4 billion.

In comparison, retail sales of the contact lens market in the U.S. amounted to $3.6 billion in 2010. In 2011 and 2012, the contact lens market generated about $3.8 billion and $4.03 billion respectively. About 15.4 percent of contact lens transactions were completed online in 2009, according to statistics published at


The share of contact lenses purchased online grew by 16.7 percent in 2012. The percentage of over-the-counter readers (OTC readers) that were purchased online was around 2.5 percent in 2009, compared to 2.6 percent in 2012. In 2009, about 3.3 percent of plano sunglasses were purchased through online services. In 2012, this amount increased to 4.9 percent. Prescription eyeglasses were the least likely to be purchased online; only 1.9 percent were purchased this way in 2009. In 2011 and 2012, the share of prescription sunglasses purchased online amounted to 2.4 percent and 2.9 percent respectively.


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About Pavel Prikhodko

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Pavel has worked for many years as a researcher and developer on a wide range of applications (varying from mechanics and manufacturing to social data, finance and advertising), building predictive systems and trying to find stories that data can tell.

In his free time, he enjoys being with his family.

Other posts by Pavel Prikhodko:

One thought on “Online sales for eyewear: contact lenses and sunglasses”

  1. Interesting and surprising. The savings from buying glasses online is larger than that for buying contact lenses. But folks want to see what they look like on, I guess. I’m shopping for both, and will be buying online. Just got my scrips.

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