Experience A Better Ride

What Happened to The Bicycle Retailer’s Sport Sunglass Market?

Many independent bicycle retailers (IBD’s) have seen significant declines in their sports sunglass business. Some bicycle retailers have even made the decision not to carry the category at all.

What happened to sunglasses in the bicycle market?

Some retailers have blamed the internet. Though internet sales do account for some sales most consumers still purchase sunglasses glasses the old fashion way. They visit a retailer and try them on (see chart below).

There are four (4) primary drivers for the market loss.

  1. A general consolidation of the eyewear industry.
  2. The unavailability of a product designed specifically for the very demanding sport of cycling. Bike store really didn’t have anything to sell that would set them apart.
    •  Sport sunglasses were never designed specifically for cycling (helmets, bibs, shoes wheels etc. are designed specifically for cycling). 
    • The products never met the rigorous requirements of the sport. Inferior products were accepted because that’s all that was available. Cyclists just stuck them in their helmets when they failed.
  3. The perceived generic nature of the product itself regardless of price point.
    • The product became a volume based commodity, and the importance of sunglasses became understated and transferrable.  
    • Price points became commoditized.  Without high performance standards unique to the product, price points became variable to the extreme. Color and style became the market drivers.
    • Commodity products can be sold in anywhere, and the cycling industry lost the sunglass business.
  4. As a result of the above, bicycle retailers dismissed the category as a go to add on sale.

Industry Consolidation

One of the leading reasons bicycle retailers do not carry sunglasses is eyewear industry consolidation.  Two major sports sunglass brands were acquired by eyewear market giants:  Oakley was purchased by Luxottica; Smith Optics was acquired by Safilo.  Combined the two companies Luxottica and Safilo control 85% of all eyewear brands.

Oakley and Smith became just another brand in each company’s portfolio.  Oakley and Smith were absorbed into the parent company’s methods and channels of distribution.  For example,, Luxottica operates 7,000 company-owned retail locations and Luxottica owns the Sunglass Hut retail brand.

How Did Eyewear Consolidation Affect the Bicycle Retailers?

Bicycle retailers became insignificant; the major brands essentially abandoned the cycling retailer as a channel of distribution.

Luxottica and Safilo have a robust retail distribution system with thousands of retail stores already in existence.  Their strategy focus changed to be on an extremely large network of retail locations with a very focused retail sales force.  It became less efficient for their sunglass products to compete for consumer dollars in bicycle stores.

What about the other brands? Where did they go?

  • Many of the other brands have also sought alternative distribution channels to remain competitive.
  • Many brands have put less emphasis on the sports market or focus on other sports venues (fishing, running, golf, snow sports, water sports etc.).
  • Many of the more popular brand names distribute through large box retailers or chain sunglass or eyewear retailers, some even distribute through eyecare professionals.

What happened on the bicycle retailers sales floor?

  • Many bicycle retailers never considered the category as part of their sales process .
    • Due to the generic nature of the product dealers did not include the category as a natural add on sale.
    • The profit margins did not justify focus.
    • Floor sales effort was not put forth unless customer made request.

A New Opportunity for the Bicycle Retailer!  Zoran Sunglasses!

Why should your store should carry and sell Zoran Sunglasses?

  1. Cash flow and  high profit margins!  Our line of sunglasses including prescription sunglass availability will enhance your cash flow advantage and bottom line!
  • Sell sunglasses designed specifically for cycling. What does designed and made for cycling really mean?  Think of all of the shortcomings of your existing sunglasses. Zoran has solved all those problems (fogging, moisture control, light adaptable lens etc.).
  • Unique and Innovative Product – Consumers still purchase glasses the old fashion way.  They visit a retailer and try them on.
  • Prescriptions  – Why focus on prescriptions sales? About 188 million people in the United States currently wear eyewear products on a regular basis, and 91% of adults above the age of 55 are using glasses of some type to correct their vision. (The Vision Council)
  • Zoran’s unsurpassed product quality and commitment to your customer!