At the outset I want to state that I am making reference in this post EXCLUSIVELY to the “LENS” market and NOT to the entire vision care market, which may include spectacle frames, services, laser surgery, consumables and many other such constituents. So we are just talking about the commonly used lenses: SPECTACLE LENS & CONTACT LENS....
It is estimated that approximately 28% of the population in India requires some sort of vision correction. This makes the market size for any type of lens a whopping 310 million individuals. The organized sector (including organized sector imports) accounts for a mere 16-18% of this market. Which means, a mere 50 million people use either of the lenses offered by the organized sector. The remaining is catered to (if at all) by the unorganized sector that includes cottage industry like units around Kolkata and Delhi or cheap imports from China, Philippines and Thailand
Coming back to industry statistics, a majority of the organized sector vision care patients, almost 98%, prefer to use spectacle lenses. Since lenses are normally bought in pairs it translates to 98 million spectacle lenses sold every year. Leading global players or manufacturers (also called the “Lens Casters”) are Essilor, Ziess, Hoya etc. with Essilor being a clear market leader. Around 60% of the share of sale is of mineral (glass) lenses. The remaining are synthetic lenses commonly called CR 39, Polycarbonate etc. The latter is growing at the rate of 16% annually while the mineral lens segment is reaching a plateau
The manner in which the raw lens manufactured by the casters reaches the neighborhood optician is an interesting, complex and financially rewarding business model
Lets turn our attention to Contact Lenses, these are of two types. The conventional contact lens and the disposable ones. The former are used for at least a year while the latter have to be bought at least three or four times a year. Now days there are even Daily Disposable Contact lenses but users are few. Conventional contact lens buyers are a majority whereas disposable contact lens account for 35% of contact lens users. Contact lenses are also sold in pairs and approximately 5 million of those are sold annually amongst a million users. Major players are Bausch & Lomb, Johnson & Johnson (Acuvue) & Ciba, with B&L accounting for a larger share (60%) of the conventional contact lens
The total size of the organized sector market for lenses in India is estimated at Rs.1500 Crores, which includes Rs.100 Crores of contact lenses
Considering that India is a country of a Billion plus people and with most people normally requiring vision correction beyond 40 this one complicated but attractive market to consider. There are business opportunities at many levels within this industry