How the Pandemic's End Triggered a Massive Year for Sunglasses

From reading glasses to sunglasses and everything in-between, eyewear can be more than just something to help you see clearer – it can be a reflection of your personality.

As the leader in global ecommerce acceleration, we’re constantly curious about the forces impacting shifts in consumer behavior. So, to celebrate National Eyewear Day, we decided to deep dive into the online sales for eyeglasses, sunglasses, frames, and more to answer a few burning questions:

Key Questions about Online Eyewear Sales

  • When do sales spike for different types of eyewear?
  • Which types and styles of eyewear see the most online demand?
  • Has COVID-19 impacted, positively or negatively, the demand for different types of eyewear?

To answer these questions, our data science team analyzed market demand for a range of eyewear categories and styles on Amazon over the past three years and published some of our key findings.

Topline Data and Insights

  • Demand for sunglasses picks up in late spring and peaks in mid-summer, while demand for other types of eyewear remains consistent throughout the year
  • Aviator sunglasses saw more online demand than any other style in 2021
  • COVID-19 has had a mixed impact on demand for different types of eyewear
    • Demand for sunglasses was down in the first months of 2020, but surged in 2021
    • Demand for blue light blocking computer glasses surged by 76% in early August 2020
    • Necessary items like contact lens care products saw demand rise in the first weeks of the pandemic, while most other types of eyewear experienced a steep drop
  • New Year’s Resolutions appear to drive demand for reading glasses and safety goggles and glasses
    • Safety goggles and glasses experienced a 115% increase in demand during the first week of January 2022

Let’s dig into the data.

Eyewear Demand Peaks in Summer

To start out, we wanted to see when Americans are shopping for all types of eyewear: eyeglasses, sunglasses, contact lenses, safety goggles, and more. So we examined weekly demand for all related categories and items in 2021 and the first few months of 2022.

Demand starts the year slow and picks up quickly in springtime, peaking during the height of summer. It then steadily decreases before plummeting during the holidays.

Seeing how just about everyone wears sunglasses and only a portion of the population uses corrective lenses, it’s safe to assume the above chart is heavily impacted by demand for a new pair of shades during the brightest months of the year.

With that in mind, let’s dig a little deeper to examine seasonal demand for different types of eyewear.

Demand for Types of Eyewear

First, here’s a breakdown of which categories in our combined view held the most weight:

Sunglasses and eyewear accessories for both women and men drove far and away the most online demand on Amazon in 2021. From there, it’s a pretty significant drop to the next most popular categories: safety goggles and glasses, computer blue light blocking glasses, and reading glasses.

Now let’s examine some of these major categories to see if seasonal demand differs from one type of eyewear to the next.

Demand for Eyewear – By Category

Let’s start by comparing changes in demand for different types of eyewear:

Sure enough, sunglasses and sunglasses & eyewear accessories for both men and women mirror the combined view trend in the previous section, peaking over the summer.

Computer blue light blocking glasses, however, started January 2021 off with demand at its highest, declining steadily in the spring, and has remained below average throughout all of 2022 so far. This points, perhaps, to a pandemic-related upswing in demand for these types of glasses, something we’ll dig into momentarily.

Contact lens care products saw demand peak in 2021 during the fall, although early 2022 has seen demand rise well above the same time last year.

Safety goggles and glasses received by far the largest peak in demand during any single week in our analysis, more than doubling during the week of January 9th 2022. Demand also surged for the item during the summertime and January of 2021, suggesting that people are just as likely to start a big home renovation project as a New Year’s Resolution as they are during their summer break.

Most Popular Styles of Sunglasses and Eyewear

Before we dive into the past to see how COVID-19 has impacted demand for different types of eyewear, let’s take a quick look to see which types and styles are the most popular these days:

Polarized sunglasses, a term that would encompass many different styles of sunglasses, unsurprisingly saw the most demand in this view. Oakley sunglasses saw the most demand of any individual brand, although Ray Bans weren’t too far behind.

Aviators are the clear style of the moment, with “aviator sunglasses” easily outpacing any other style, and even just “aviators” still edged out wayfarers, which were the next most popular style. (And with Top Gun Maverick cementing its status as one of the first big blockbusters of 2022, we can only assume that demand for Aviators is about to surge to all new heights).

While these styles and brands of sunglasses may experience different levels of demand, here we can see that they see remarkably similar trends.

Most peak over the early summer and see demand steadily decline as summer turns to fall. Interestingly, wayfarers saw demand remain high throughout September and October, as compared to aviators who experience more consistent demand outside of a brief summer spike and another one during Halloween.

Impact of COVID-19 on Demand for Eyewear

It’s clear there are significant seasonal trends when it comes to eyewear, but we wanted to take a look back even further to see if more people working from home and fewer people spending time outdoors and on commutes in early 2020 led to significant changes in demand for different types of eyewear.

Let’s start by examining the weekly demand once more, but this time starting in January 2020, starting with a view of women’s and men’s sunglasses and eyewear accessories.

Demand for sunglasses absolutely cratered in the first weeks of the pandemic as a fresh pair of shades were clearly not at the top of anyone’s shopping list during lockdown.

It rebounded quickly as things began to open back up in early summer, but the summer surge in 2020 was clearly impacted as well. And by taking a monthly view we can look back even further and compare to pre-pandemic demand in 2019:

Interestingly, 2020 demand actually rebounded to slightly above 2019’s levels, while 2021 and 2022 so far have seen demand for sunglasses hit all time highs.

Demand for sunglasses shows us how much Americans were looking to get out and about during different stages of the pandemic, but the more indoor-focused types of eyewear tells a different story.

Computer blue light blocking glasses experienced a short dip in demand in the very first weeks of shutdowns followed by an immediate spike in mid-April. Then, in August and September as it became clear to millions of Americans that working from home and attending school via Zoom meeting would be the new normal, demand surged by over 70%.

After starting 2021 strong again, demand quickly receded in the spring and has remained low as people have returned to the office and the classroom.

The long term view shows us that 2021 actually finished the year with demand below pre-pandemic levels.

As for reading glasses, outside of a brief dip in demand during the first weeks of lockdown, 2020 appeared to be a relatively stronger year overall than 2021, but our monthly look will probably be more helpful here:

A lot of Americans must have set “read more books” as one of their New Year’s Resolutions, as January is always a huge month for reading glasses. This category also appeared to overperform during back-to-school season in 2020, suggesting yet again that the first year of the pandemic had some impact on reading glasses as well.

Demand for contact lens care products spiked in the first weeks of lockdown, increasing by nearly 30% during the week of March 15th. It then fell sharply, likely as a result of people having stocked up in preparation of an uncertain year ahead.

Even after that post panic-shopping dip, 2020 saw demand remain relatively ahead of pre-pandemic levels. 2021, meanwhile, started the year well behind early 2020, only to surge well ahead as things began to reopen and people started spending more time outside.

Finally, our long-term view of safety goggles and glasses reveals that year over year since the pandemic started has seen demand consistently outpace 2019’s monthly levels. Nothing compares, however, to the tremendous surge we highlighted during the first weeks of January 2022. It appears that more Americans than ever decided this was the year all of their big projects were going to get done.

Key Takeaways for Brands

Our data tells an interesting story when it comes to the seasonality of eyewear and the impact of COVID-19. As you’d expect, sunglasses experience the most demand during the late spring and early summer, while other types of eyewear see demand more evenly spread out throughout the year.

The early weeks of the pandemic, meanwhile, saw millions of Americans hold off on buying new sunglasses and other types of eyewear, but by late 2020 demand surged for items like blue screen computer glasses and reading glasses. 2021, meanwhile, saw demand for sunglasses pick up in a big way as Americans headed back outdoors after spending much of the previous year indoors.

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how seasonality (weather and behavioral) and new behaviors (staying indoors during shutdowns) impact demand for their products on online marketplaces. These trends and insights can help brands better plan promotional periods that sync with interest and demand. Drilling into the demand details like location, gender, and price points provide specific action items for marketing and creative strategy as well.

And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, schedule a demo today.

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Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears
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Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears

**Instrument Pricing Changes Tune Amid Record Inflation** Compared to 2022, consumers should expect to pay more for musical instruments, but the rate of inflation shows signs of slowing. **The backstory:** America’s most popular musical instruments saw a notable price increase in 2022 compared to 2021, but the rate of inflation eased in Q4 ’22. **Why it matters:** Slowing inflation within this product category could indicate economic pressures like increased demand, rising labor costs, and supply chain disruptions are easing across the consumer landscape. **What we’re seeing:** The average cost of musical instruments increased 7.5% from 2021 – 2022; however, when analyzing individual increases year over year, some instruments saw price increases as high as 21%. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-02Lwk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/02Lwk/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones experienced a 21.73% increase compared to 2021 * Trumpets +20.08% * Flutes +18.6% * Recorders +16.13% * Saxophones +13.63% * Clarinets +10.55% * Drums +5.41% * Ukuleles +5.17% **However:** Inflation among these same instruments was significantly less in Q4 ’22 compared to Q4 ’21. In some cases, prices decreased from Q4 ’21 – Q4 ‘22: <iframe title="Price Change for Instruments — Q4 2022 vs. Q4 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-6X6GZ" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/6X6GZ/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones +11.23% * Flutes +10.41% * Saxophones +5.94% * Clarinets +5.59% * Trumpets +3.10% * Recorders +2.85% * Drums -2.59% * Ukuleles -8.46% **Moreover:** Certain instruments saw inflation reverse in 2022. On average, prices for melodicas, guitars, and violas saw their prices decrease by 4.41%, 3.19%, and 0.97%, respectively. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-0Tefk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/0Tefk/3/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="259" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **Diving Deeper:** Inflation was more significant when comparing Q4 ’21 to Q4 ’20 than when comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, indicating a slowing down of price increases for consumers. <iframe title="YOY Q4 Price Change for Instruments — 2020 – 2022" aria-label="Stacked Bars" id="datawrapper-chart-p6iqt" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/p6iqt/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="206" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * In Q4 ’21, average prices for all instruments were up 8.89% compared to Q4 ’20. * When comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, the average price for all instruments only increased by 2.65%. **The takeaway:** While consumers should expect to pay higher prices for instruments this year, overall inflation impact within this product category appears to be slowing down. With National Ukulele Day coming up on February 2, now is a great time for ecommerce brands to take advantage of slowing economic worries and reach new consumers. * Want Pattern’s data science team to power your brand with consumer insights like these? Contact us to [request more information](https://pattern.com/contact-us/) today.

Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us
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Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us

It’s safe to say consumers and brands alike are eager for a change to the pattern of rising inflation, steadily increasing in many ecommerce categories . Pattern’s internal team’s data scientists analysis of instrument pricing shows a glimmer of hope that inflation may be slowing, which would be great news for brands selling online.

At Pattern, we’re interested in and monitoring trends and news related to pricing since price is a key factor in a brand’s profitability (as explained in the Ecommerce Equation). When brands are able to optimize their price, conversions, and traffic, they can optimize their profitability. And profitability leads to better allocation of resources, better brand control, and gives leaders the ability to expand their presence to new markets worldwide.

YoY Instrument Pricing Increased at a Slower Pace

When analyzing the pricing changes of instruments from 2021 to 2022, our teams found that prices increased, but at a slower rate than from 2020 to 2021.

As shown below, the year over year Q4 changes show quite a lower rate of increase.

Inflation Improvements Raise Profitability

Because inflation impacts online shopping behaviors, lower inflation can lead to better overall profitability for brands. This idea, of course, is nuanced, but Pattern’s Ecommerce Equation can help illustrate the general principle.

When inflation rises, consumers change their spending habits. Shoppers spend more time researching products, forego premium, higher-priced brands, and buy more in bulk. Brands tend to see a loss of loyalty as they’re forced to raise prices.

Price is a key variable in the Ecommerce Equation: price x conversion x traffic = profitability. As inflation lowers, brands can expect better performance in all of these areas—more traffic as spending habits return to normal, higher conversion from returning customers, and price that better fits consumer demand. As inflation lowers and these variables stabilize, brands will see profitability increase.

Raise Your Profitability with Pattern

As an ecommerce accelerator, Pattern is obsessed with gathering data that helps our brand partners succeed. We’ve created best-in-class technology, models, and analytics to understand changes on the horizon and inform our decisions. With an incredible team of data obsessed Pattern employees, we see what makes the difference in truly great ecommerce performance and apply those learnings for brand partners. 

Ready to improve your profitability? Contact us here.

Inflation hits LEGO, but lighter than you’d suspect
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Inflation hits LEGO, but lighter than you’d suspect

**Some sets get more expensive, while others become cheaper** In June 2022, LEGO announced it would be increasing the prices of their sets. Ever since, consumers anticipated their favorite plastic construction toy prices to increase [by as much as 25%](https://9to5toys.com/2022/06/02/lego-officially-confirms-price-increases-coming-to-most-sets-later-this-fall/). **Why it matters:** Consumers are feeling the sting of inflation in all areas of their lives, from groceries and gas to entertainment. With LEGO Day right around the corner (January 28th), fans may wonder whether it’s a good time to purchase a set. **What we’re seeing:** While inflation continues to ravage the economy, consumers are seeing a small reprieve when it comes to the pricing of LEGO sets. Despite the anticipated 25% price increase, average prices among the top LEGO sets only increased by 4.7% year over year when comparing Q4 2022 to Q4 2021. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for All LEGO Sets – 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-3gn9L" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/3gn9L/3/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="393" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * During this same period, annual prices for some of the most popular LEGO sets were up as much as 23%. <iframe title="U.S. Price Change for LEGO Sets – Q4 22 vs. Q4 21" aria-label="Split Bars" id="datawrapper-chart-vh7B2" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/vh7B2/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="708" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **Yes, but:** Prices of other popular sets were down by as much as -12% during this same period. Depending on the kit, consumers might actually find some popular LEGO sets have gotten less expensive since 2021: * LEGO Star Wars Imperial Probe Droid was down -6% in Q4 2022 vs. Q4 2021 * LEGO Creator Tuk Tuk was down -7% * LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon was down -10% * LEGO Ideas Tree House Business Kit was down -12% **However:** Even for the sets that experienced a price decrease, the decrease was less significant in Q4 2022 as set prices increased across the board following the June 2022 announcement. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Individual LEGO Sets – 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-KjSXz" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/KjSXz/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **The takeaway:** While prices didn’t increase as much as consumers anticipated, inflation still had an effect on the cost of LEGO sets. As ecommerce brands prepare for increased demand ahead of LEGO Day, they could increase customer interest in all sets by promoting the sets that have seen a price decrease. * Pattern’s data science team analyzes consumer demand on Amazon to understand how economic forces impact pricing and shopping behavior. If you’re interested in using insights like these to propel your ecommerce strategy forward, [contact our team today. ](https://pattern.com/contact-us/)