Mintel warns of increased competition

The latest Mintel report plays down the threat of online competition, but predicts a competitive sector nonetheless, with a growing influence from supermarkets

Demand for optical goods staged a recovery in 2013, up 2.6 per cent on the previous year in spite of intense competition between retailers, according to the latest Mintel report. The research, Optical Goods Retailing – UK – February 2014, reported that consumers spent £2.82bn in 2013 on optical goods and services, excluding plano sunglasses. Altogether there were an estimated 7,000 outlets.

Mintel predicted that contact lens sales would rise as numbers of 25-34-year-olds grow, while the ageing population would also help fuel demand because the over-50s were more likely to buy spectacles with complex lenses. ‘Playing against this, the market remains highly competitive and dependent on promotional activity, which makes it difficult to raise prices. So the market is expected to grow by 14.1 per cent between 2013 and 2018,’ it reported. This was against a forecast rise in consumer expenditure of 34.2 per cent from 2013 to 2018 as the economy recovered.

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