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 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/)
Aug 30, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 30th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon set to shut down Amazon Care Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, which launched in 2019 as a trial program for its headquartered employees. Later the service was rolled out nationwide for employees and other companies. The ecommerce giant has now made the decision to move away from the healthcare space, believing it was not the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. [Read more on CNBC](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/24/amazon-is-shutting-down-amazon-care-telehealth-service.html) Peloton closes new deal to sell on Amazon Following a recent deal, Amazon customers will soon be able to buy Peloton fitness equipment on the marketplace, marking Peleton’s first move outside a direct-to-consumer model. According to Peloton’s CCO, there are already around half a million searches on Amazon for Peloton products every month, despite having no presence on the marketplace. Some key products include the original Peloton Bike, retailing for $1,445 and Peloton Guide for $295. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/24/peloton-strikes-deal-to-sell-fitness-equipment-on-amazon/) --- Other Marketplace News --- 60% of Malaysians are buying from local sellers on Shopee A recent survey of nearly 3,500 respondents found that nearly half of the shoppers prefer to purchase from local sellers due to shorter delivery times. Other shoppers decide to shop locally due to the quality of the products made in Malaysia and an interest in keeping the economy running. As a result, smaller local merchants have been able to grow their businesses, and shoppers benefit from shorter delivery times, products of high quality and supporting local businesses. [Read more on The Malaysian Reserve](https://themalaysianreserve.com/2022/08/25/around-60-malaysians-are-buying-from-local-sellers-on-shopee/) Flipkart’s social commerce platform Shopsy crosses 100 million users Flipkart launched a social commerce arm, Shopsy, in July of last year, which has now surpassed 100 million users, ahead of its target timeline being the end of 2022. This acquisition of new users has made Shopsy one of the largest platforms of its kind in the country, and is expected to onboard a further 100 million by the end of 2023. The platform is centred around boosting local entrepreneurship and powering ecommerce for consumers across tier 2+ regions where users face challenges around trust and navigation when shopping online. [Read more on Business Standard](https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/flipkart-s-social-commerce-platform-shopsy-hits-100-million-users-1220828006851.html) Meta joins Amazon and Walmart in bid for Indian ecommerce market Amazon mentioned earlier in the year that it would be building a logistics division in-house through its purchase of a 51% stake in Ecom Express, an end-to-end logistics firm, to make ecommerce deliveries more efficient in the country. Walmart operates Flipkart in India and is set to continue its investment in the marketplace. In an effort to compete in the Indian ecommerce market, Meta has partnered with Indian ecommerce company, JioMart, to offer customers a grocery shopping platform within its WhatsApp chat feature. [Read more on Pymnts](https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2022/meta-joins-amazon-walmart-indian-ecommerce-market/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Ecommerce in Spain worth €57.7 billion in 2021 Spanish ecommerce saw 11.7% growth compared to last year, largely attributed to cross-border sales. In the final quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales in Spain were at €16.9 billion euros, at least 60% of which came from cross-border sales. Transactions from foreign locations to Spain generated a turnover of €1.56 billion in Q4, a growth of 27.7% compared to Q4 a year before. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-in-spain-was-worth-e57-7-billion-in-2021/)
Aug 23, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 23rd August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to add mental health support to primary-care service Amazon is set to move into mental health therapy with its primary-care division, following its recent acquisition deal of One Medical. The plan is to partner with virtual behavioural therapy service, Ginger, to offer its Amazon Care users with on-demand access to mental health services, licensed therapists and psychiatrists. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/11/amazon-plans-to-add-mental-health-support-to-primary-care-service/) GMB union calls for £15 an hour minimum pay at UK Amazon warehouses Amazon recently offered its warehouse workers a 3% pay rise, which in comparison to the June inflation rate of 9.4% left employees disappointed. Following this, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers stopped work last week, protesting against the minimal pay increase, seeking a minimum of £15 an hour. Recent protests consisting of employee walkouts and sit-ins aim to get a better offer out of Amazon. [Read more on The Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/09/gmb-calls-for-15-an-hour-minimum-pay-at-amazon-warehouses-in-uk) Amazon third-party sellers have received their first-ever holiday fee hike Amazon’s third-party marketplaces account for close to half of the company’s online sales. The company introduced a 5% fuel and inflation charge to its third-party sellers earlier this year, and has now implemented another inflation increase charge. Commencing 14 October, any seller who uses Amazon’s fulfilment service is subject to the price hike, which is set to be an additional 35 cents per item for products sold in the US and Canada. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/17/amazon-third-party-sellers-have-received-their-first-ever-holiday-fee-hike/) Amazon puts a pause on UK grocery shop roll-out as the cost of living increases Amazon has slowed down on its UK roll-out of till-free Amazon Fresh grocery stores following disappointing sales and the rise in cost of living. Allegedly, the company is no longer looking for potential sites to expand and if more stores are opened, they will likely no longer use a till-free system, as consumers become more cautious about spending. [Read more on The Telegraph](https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/21/amazon-pauses-uk-grocery-shop-roll-out-following-disappointing/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopee overtakes Alibaba across international markets Shopee has surpassed Alibaba and taken the top spot for sales outside of China. Singapore-based marketplace saw a year-on-year increase of 51.4% at the end of Q2 of this year, while Alibaba saw a 3% drop during the same time period. This can be seen as a promising development for start-ups and their ability to compete with some of the largest ecommerce giants in the market. [Read more on Exchange Wire](https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2022/08/18/shopee-surpasses-alibaba-in-international-sales-amazon-searches-for-entertainment-exec/) H&M reopens its official store to Alibaba’s Tmall ecommerce platform It has been nearly 18 months since Alibaba removed H&M from its Tmall platform, following H&M’s criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It is estimated that over a million people, predominantly minorities in the area, have been unlawfully detained in camps across the city. Brands including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and Converse were swept up in the controversy, however H&M was one of the first to be targeted for speaking out about the issue. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/16/hm-returns-to-alibabas-tmall-platform-16-months-after-xinjiang-controversy/) Klarna launches new feature allowing UK consumers to view full online order history Buy-now-pay-later company, Klarna, has launched a new feature on its shopping app, which allows UK consumers to view their full online order history, regardless of whether they purchased the product using Klarna. The feature also shows delivery tracking and aids consumers in managing their online purchases more conveniently. [Read more on The Industry](https://www.theindustry.fashion/klarna-launches-new-feature-allowing-uk-consumers-to-view-full-online-order-history/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Online marketplaces responsible for £280 billion business turnover in the UK Nearly 900,000 UK businesses are currently selling on online marketplaces, generating an estimated £282 billion worth of sales each year. This figure represents 6% of the UK’s annual business turnover, highlighting the notable contribution that marketplaces make to the UK economy, along with the potential for further growth in this area. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/09/online-marketplaces-responsible-for-280-billion-business-turnover-in-uk/)