One of the fastest growing Retail formats in India is Optical Retail. There are an estimated 42,000 opticians across India. Of these, over 90% are run by individual owners, aka Mom & Pop shops with 2 to 5 staff employed per outlet, depending on their business size. The organised retail segment is led by only 4 players of which Titan Eye+ is the oldest chain, spanning over 300 outlets spread across the country on high streets as well as Malls. Lenskart, with over Rs. 2,000 Crores in Venture Funding has a formidable 800+ outlets and aims to be the pioneer in the omni-channel retail model, bringing it’s e-commerce capabilities with offline presence. The company which began as a “Digital First” model serving youngsters and youth through e-commerce, started opening physical stores 2 years back, loaded with cash from its Investors.
Chennai based Specsmakers which commenced its business in 2004 with one store, opened it’s 240th store on 9 Sep. ’21 in Bangalore. This is the company’s third outlet within the RT Nagar locality. S. Shriram, Vice President, Sales & Marketing said, “We have received an overwhelming response from our existing 2 stores in the vicinity. What was once a quiet suburb 15 years back is now a bustling neighbourhood with a number of domestic & international brands. Therefore, we believe we should serve customers of all SECs and at the same time, maintain the same “Specsmakers Store Experience” all over”. The company aims to open 1,000 outlets across India by 2025, he said.
The segment has seen a fierce competition over the years with the traditional stores who have built a personal rapport with their customers continuing to elevate their in-store experience such as offering high-quality and high index lens, high quality frames from internationally acclaimed Brands and value-for-money, imported brands as well, while also adding air-conditioning, state of the art testing facilities and so on. The organised players, altogether have no more than 2,000 outlets thereby leaving a huge headroom for organic growth.
WFH & EFH (Education) have left eyes drained and strained for millions of people worldwide, thereby opening up the market size by value and volume. Many children and youth, who are now glued to their devices, have been forcefully made to take eye tests, who in turn recommend reading glasses, with or without power. Whichever way, the eyewear and eyecare segment of retail throws newer opportunities for earning and growth.