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The Big Survey 2020: Buying and Selling

The usual suspects, an increasing interest in independent brands, and a little trend forecasting... the collections that are in demand by both consumers and ECPs reveal a shifting focus away from blind faith in large corporate brands toward more niche product. Plus, the number one breakout optical trend wasn't even on our radar last year.




15. What do you think will be the next breakout trend in optical products?

  1. Better anti-fog solutions
  2. Smart eyewear/wearables
  3. Customization/3D printing
  4. Better Blue Light protection/contact lenses/computer lenses
  5. More lens tints/treatments
  6. Minimalism/smaller styles/90s vintage
  7. Bright funky colors
  8. Customer service/concierge service/convenience
  9. Myopia management products
  10. Chains
  11. Clear
  12. Thick temples
  13. Auto focusing lenses
  14. Blue tooth technology
  15. Unusual shapes and dimensions

16. If you could hold a trunk show of any eyewear designer/brand in the world (with the company’s participation), who would it be?

  1. Face à Face
  2. Gucci
  3. l.a. Eyeworks
  4. Lindberg
  5. Chanel
  6. Etnia Barcelona
  7. Francis Klein
  8. Anne et Valentin
  9. Cartier
  10. Europa
  11. Kering
  12. Lafont
  13. Sospiri
  14. Tom Davies
  15. Tom Ford

17. How would you describe the contribution of e-commerce — via your website, Facebook, Instagram, eBay, etc. — to total sales?

Insignificant (1-10%)
Moderate (11-25%)
Substantial (26-50%)
Main source of revenue (50% or more)

18. On what online platforms have you actually experienced consumer inquiries about an item you’ve posted or publicized?

3 eyeglasses displayed on laptop screen

Own website
Vendor platform embedded on your website
Other (please specify)


Note: “Other” additional online platforms reported were Google, YouTube and Ocular Innovations.

19. Attracting new customers/patients is always a challenge. What’s worked best for you?

big survey 2020 pie graph-new customers


Note: Far and away the most common response by a landslide was “word of mouth” with 70 percent of respondents citing it, followed distantly by “referrals” with 10 percent of responses. A few other interesting answers included:
• being on their insurance panels/adding a vision panel
• creative ad campaigns
• exterior art work
• email blasts
• attending community events (pre-COVID)
• direct mail
• business networking
• location

20. What’s the largest number of frames you’ve sold to one person at one time?

lady wearing multiple eyewear

5 or more
  • I sold 12 pairs to a millionaire. It was very exciting and I almost wet my pants.
  • I had one older gentleman early in my career purchase 11 silver aviators at one time; they were almost all identical. Every year after, for a few more years, he purchased one or two more. I remember asking him why but do not recall any good answers.
  • 17 frames to one gentleman, all progressives, and after he picked them up we never heard from him again… it’s been years!
  • 17 Gucci, Versace and Prada to a “rapper” for a music video.
  • Had an eccentric patient who wanted a pair for just about every one of his 40 exotic cars.
  • Not our largest, but one gentleman bought eight frames — four Blake Kuwaharas, all same style and color, four Barton Perreiras, same style and color. He wanted to leave one at four different locations.
  • I had a customer who was a billionaire on the Forbes Top 50 list; he would get Swissflex readers and lose them all the time. His assistant would call and order six or more at a time because he traveled. Whenever I’d see her number pop up, I’d get very excited. It was a great run for a couple years but unfortunately he passed last year. Bless his soul.
  • Eight pair of polarized, mirrored, progressives. Customer was going to Africa for a six week safari.
  • The patient had a large HSA she had to spend because she was moving to another company. So we kept building eyewear for her; eight pairs in the end, four clear and four sun.
  • An accountant wanted Rx reading glasses in every room of his house and office.
  • We had a patient get two pairs of Alexander McQueens and two pairs of Gucci. The next day she called and got another sun … she had dreamt about them so had to have them.
  • Many years ago a patient bought several of the same style and color so she would always have her “trademark frame.”
  • We live in a pretty depressed area but there is one couple that moved from a big city and are big spenders. They came in one November and each bought five pair, putting me in the black well before black Friday!
  • Had someone buy 18 l.a. eyeworks during a Lafont trunk show.

21. What are the 3 best-performing brands that you carry?

big survey 2020-best performing brands

22. The eyewear brands respondents would most like to add to their mix…

  1. Face à Face
  2. Anne et Valentin
  3. SALT
  4. Maui Jim
  5. Ray-Ban
  6. Theo
  7. OvvO
  8. Prodesign
  9. Lafont
  10. Oakley
  11. Etnia Barcelona


Note: 39 percent of respondents said they did not want to add any brands. For comparison’s sake, the No. 1 brand on our list, Face à Face, received 4 percent of the votes.



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