As it stands right now, the eyeglass industry is a lot like the banking industry in the early 2000’s after the Glass-Steagall act was repealed. It was a law that, among other things, prohibited banks from merging and becoming giant conglomerates. And what happened immediately after it was repealed? Tons of mergers that led to the creation of megabanks like Citibank. Well it’s the same in the eyeglass industry. Let’s just say it’s not a particularly well regulated industry.
Let’s put it in perspective: out of roughly 35,000 companies in the vision industry, ten of them hold roughly 40% of the market share. And then there’s also the fact that the top ten are also very big conglomerates that are heavily vertically integrated. The typical conglomerate in this industry owns the manufacturer, the store brands, the eyeglass brands and licences, and even in some cases the insurer. Take for example Luxottica, the company owns America’s second largest vision insurer!
The Impact It Has On Your Glasses
For more people, the fact that the industry is structured the way that it is, is a huge nuisance. More than half of Americans spend between $200 and $500 per pair of glasses and it’s ridiculous. This is happening because the average person doesn’t know that there are less expensive alternatives. They think they have no choice but to pay these kinds of prices. That’s what happens when every eyeglass store in the vicinity is owned by the same parent company and there is no price competition.
If You Know Where To Look, You’ll Find Glasses For $40
What the average person doesn’t know is that they have no obligation to pay ridiculous prices for their glasses. There is a small number of companies out there whose mission is to provide a high quality pair at a fair price. One such example is Payne Glasses. They don’t sell a single pair of glasses above $40! They don’t just sell regular glasses either. Payne offers high-index lenses as well as photochromic blue blocking lenses as options.