In late 2021, luxury sunglasses brand Ray-Ban collaborated with Meta to release a new collection of smart glasses called Ray-Ban Stories.
These were advertised as Meta’s first product related to its augmented-reality universe called the Metaverse and included a Facebook assistant and generally good audio quality. The smart glasses even contain a camera on each side, allowing wearers to shoot five-megapixel images and 30-second long videos.
However, some users noted that the specs fell short of expectations. To illustrate, Meta’s products, like the Quest 2 VR headset and video calling device Portal, are in high demand among many consumers. Meanwhile, Ray-Ban smart glasses haven’t caught on a year after launch and are almost invisible in the mobile market in 2022.
Though some of their recent launches haven’t been successful, Ray-Ban remains a dominant brand in the eyewear market for its established catalogue, including the classic Aviator sunglasses. With that in mind, how does Ray-Ban’s market share and outlook appear in 2023? Let’s take a closer look below.
Major markets and history
The Ray-Ban brand was born in 1937 after US Air Force pilots reported that the sun’s glare was giving them headaches and altitude sickness. It wasn’t long before the novelty of the brand spread to anyone with an outdoor lifestyle. Now, the polarised sunglasses by Ray-Ban have become instrumental in pushing boundaries in music, the arts, and fashion. These classic sunglasses are even more well-known for their features nowadays because their polarised lenses are even more effective in reducing the glare of the sun’s UV rays and preventing eye strain among its wearers. Thanks to its impressive quality, Ray-Ban continues to make a good impression across the globe.
As a French-Italian eyewear group, Ray-Ban’s maker EssilorLuxottica continues to sell well in Europe today. The brand reports Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) to be its best-performing regions in the first quarter of 2023. Solid sales growth in France, Italy, Spain, the UK, and Scandinavia were noted, increasing 6.2% at constant exchange rates to €2.09 billion (£1.8 billion).
Given that the brand’s original market was US Air Force pilots, however, it isn’t surprising that North America is still Ray-Ban’s biggest market overall. US sales increased in late 2022 by 3.4% to $3.36 billion (£2.6 billion) at constant exchange rates, driven by the direct-to-consumer division offline and online. Unfortunately, the Asia-Pacific region of Ray-Ban grew by only 3.1% to $805 million (£630 million). This was after EssilorLuxottica reported that Asia-Pacific was the group’s fastest-growing region, with a 22.7% revenue rise at the latter end of 2022.
Ray-Ban is expected to continue dominating the eyeglass market in 2023 due to the rising popularity of polarised and smart sunglasses. An analysis by Consegic Business Intelligence points out that the market for polarised sunglasses will experience steady growth of 5.2% within the decade. Ray-Ban is one of the leading brands that contribute to the growth of the polarised sunglasses market, which is why the popularity of the sunglasses brand is expected to rise at a steady rate.
Furthermore, it’s also estimated that Ray-Ban Stories will fare better in the coming years due to the high demand for smart glasses. ResearchAndMarket.com states that Ray-Ban is one of the major companies that will drive the advancement and demand for smart glasses in the upcoming five years. More consumers are looking for fashionable accessories with innovative features, which is why Ray-Ban Stories is expected to finally get the recognition it deserves within the next few years.
Ray-Ban: Market Share and Outlook for 2023