What's new globally with the prescription eyewear segment? Like in terms of technology, style, durability of spectacles, materials used etc.
The latest technology in lens material is in the hi-index lenses - which allow for the edges of the lenses to be much thinner for higher prescriptions than when regular plastic lenses are used. Regardless of how strong the prescription - today's lens technologies virtually ensure that almost everyone can have a thin, fashionable pair of eyewear. In addition, a special lens coating called Anti-Reflective coating or Non-glare coating when applied to the lenses removes almost 98% of glare and reflections from the lens surfaces. The result is a very clear looking pair of lenses and greater comfort for the eyes, especially when working on computers - because almost all glare and reflections from the lenses are removed.
The big trend in frames is towards the rimless frames - which have clear lenses with no rim. These are very big sellers around the world because they are lightweight and give the appearance of not wearing glasses.
Usually, what kind of shelf life has prescription eyewear today?
Most consumers are changing their eyewear and updating their prescriptions or frames every 12 to 18 months. The trend however is to have more than one pair of eyeglasses - either for different functions such as computer use and driving, or simply for fashion.
As the product is based more on the need factor, how are companies clubbing the fashion/style aspect to it?
Trends these days are driven to a large extent by fashion. Lighter, more attractive frames are constantly being created by the leading designers and eyewear is not only seen as a need, but a fashion statement.
Who all are the takers here… (the target audience)? Are we segmenting them further: men, women, kids, sportsmen, etc.
Almost everyone has a need for eyewear at some point, especially with the increase in computer usage around the world. Kids and adults can all benefit from some form of computer glasses if they spend more than 4 - 5 hours a day on a computer. In addition, protective sports eye wear with shatter resistant lenses are becoming increasingly more popular for safety reasons.
Do we also see product categories for both masses and classes here? What do these sections look at while buying a spectacles? (We have read about classy Swarovski-studded glasses or those by Dolce and Gabbana.)
As mentioned, the trend is strongly toward fashion. Even the individual just looking for functionality and vision comfort wants to have a fashionable pair of designer eye wear.
What are the accessories that go with them? Is this too a recognized section today? What all brands globally are venturing this space?
Most eyeglasses and sunglasses come with a protective case. The trend is not so much in accessories as with eyeglasses that come with matching clip-on sunglasses. These are very popular and allow the wearer to have access to instant sunglasses without having to have a second prescription pair of sunglasses.
Can you also suggest some points a customer must keep in mind while purchasing a good prescription spectacles?
If you're looking for quality, you will usually find it in the leading brands. Most recognized brand names put a premium on quality and design function. The metals and materials used in construction are usually superior to the generic no-name brand, won't tarnish as easily and will be of a better construction. The hinges don't break and they have a longer lifespan. In contrast, a very cheap, mass-produced product will have a much shorter lifespan and will require frequent replacement.