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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Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 13, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 13th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon scales back on US warehouse facilities Amazon is shutting down two facilities with 300 employees, discarding plans for 42 facilities, and delaying plans to open a further 21 buildings across the US. The ecommerce giant is scaling back on hiring as well as the expansion of its vast delivery network, as it was left with an excess of space following its rapid expansion during the pandemic. [Read more on Business Insider](https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-closes-2-facilities-scraps-plans-42-new-buildings-report-2022-9?r=US&IR=T) --- Other Marketplace News --- JD.com is ‘betting’ on ecommerce grocery market Amidst a slowing economy and a decline in ecommerce, Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com has increased its urgency to seek new growth engines. The company is looking to boost its online grocery business through offline partnerships and expansion into lower-tier cities, where it may be able to unleash more consumption power. [Read more on The Star](https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2022/09/08/chinese-ecommerce-giant-jdcom-bets-big-on-online-grocery-lower-tier-markets-amid-slowing-economy) Shopee shuts operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico Sea’s ecommerce arm, Shopee, has shut local operations in some LATAM countries but will continue to maintain cross-border operations in a few markets. Latin America is Sea’s most important region following South-east Asia, accounting for close to 19% of its revenue in 2021. The move away from these countries is largely due to increased levels of macro uncertainty and rising interest and inflation rates, and rather putting a focus on its core operations. [Read more on Straits Times](https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/seas-shopee-shuts-operations-in-argentina-chile-colombia-mexico-sources) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Instagram scales back in-stream shopping elements Instagram is re-examining its approach as it hasn’t been able to make ‘fetch’ happen. ‘Fetch’ in this context being the online shopping trends which have become all-consuming in China, and what Western social platforms have been hoping to add into their apps to make them more addictive and revenue-generating. Consumers have not been swayed by the latest shopping tools on TikTok and Instagram, leading to Instagram scaling back its in-stream shopping program. [Read more on SocialMediaToday](https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagram-scales-back-in-stream-shopping-elements-as-it-re-examines-its-app/631276/) FedEx Express supporting the growth of cross border ecommerce FedEx express has expanded its international commerce shipping service to four more markets across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region in an effort to support the strong development of ecommerce in this region. Three of the fastest growing markets, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are leading Southeast Asia’s ecommerce sales, which is set to reach $100 billion by 2023. [Read more on Post & Parcel](https://postandparcel.info/149889/news/e-commerce/fedex-express-supports-the-growth-of-cross-border-e-commerce-within-the-amea-region/) India ramps up hiring as companies prepare for shoppers Ecommerce companies are getting ready for the festive season by rapidly expanding their temporary workforce. As ecommerce in India grows, the country is predicted to have 372 million online shoppers by the end of 2022. The festive season this year, running from October to December, is expected to see a two-fold increase in logistics and delivery alone. During this period, companies are predicted to add 20% more to their existing workforce base, with a 8-10% higher pay scale compared to last year. [Read more on Business Insider India](https://www.businessinsider.in/business/ecommerce/news/the-great-indian-festival-of-hiring-e-commerce-companies-gear-up-for-indias-shoppers/articleshow/94000346.cms)
Sept 6, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)