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C’mon, Eh! Canadian Sunglass Wear Lags Behind!

June 27th is Sunglass Day. Well at least it is in the USA. But not in Canada, pity.

The Q1 VisionWatch Canada report (Jan 1- March 31, 2017) on Canadian consumers’ eyewear use and purchasing habits was recently released.  While almost all of the VisionWatch Canada metrics are settling into specific and predictable patterns, what caught our eye (pun intended), are the comparative measures of sunglass usage in Canada relative the other economically well-developed countries.

According to VisionWatch Canada (published by The Vision Council) reports, 87% of US consumers wear plano sunglasses, versus only 62% in Canada, a significant difference. It is not a seasonal aberration. The 62% penetration level has held fairly steady through each of the four seasons, since the VisionWatch Canada data started tracking data in 2014.

While it might be easy to dismiss the difference between US and Canada as being rooted in our geographic destiny, other northern nations like UK and Germany (not exactly sunny places!) outperform Canada significantly as well, tallying 84% and 78% penetration respectively*.  France has the highest level of sunglass wear at 89%.

There is some good news in the data.  When Canadians purchase sunwear, we are much more prone to purchase higher priced product compared with Americans.  Penetration of sunglasses over $50 per pair is 40% in Canada, compared with only 26% in USA.

The trend of Canadians purchasing higher priced product holds throughout the study, as evidenced by a much higher percent purchase of glasses with AR coatings (66% in Canada versus 30% in USA).  The industry can presumably take some credit for strong advocacy of AR coatings, but… what about sunglasses? By the measures indicated in the VisionWatch data, the Canadian eye care industry has an upside opportunity in sunglass sales and increasing protection from harmful UV radiation.

Maybe a “Three O Association collaboration” to declare Sunglasses day in Canada can help!  If that sounds like a challenge, it is!

Click here to view the Canadian vs American Q1 2017 Market Overview

* source: VisionWatch Europe data 2015.

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