If you are the owner and user of prescription glasses, and according to the latest set of statistics 61% of the world’s population are, then no doubt every time you look to buy a pair you are left scratching your head wondering as to why the cost of them are quite so high.
In a world where, on the face of it at least, many products have in some ways actually reduced in terms of cost, especially in the technological arena where flat-screen TVs, laptops and other luxury items retain a similar, if not lower, level of cost, it appears that eyewear is exempt.
The clue may well be in the way the area itself has opted to change their USP.
Any trip to a local optometrist, or an online equivalent, will lead to you being bombarded by the term eyewear. You are no longer shopping for glasses or spectacles, the item you are looking to purchase has in many ways gone from being a functional item to a decorative one.
This is a clever bit of marketing, offering an additional angle to what is essentially an essential item for the user. What you are buying is now more than just an apparatus for improving your site, it’s a statement.
For instance, a quick glance here will make it abundantly clear that style is at least as important as substance when it comes to the marketing of glasses.
This lurch towards angling the market away from a necessary purchase to an indulgence is a relatively new phenomenon and is no doubt one that leads to an increased cost being laid on the product itself. After all, those slick ads fronted by Hollywood stars and supermodels don’t pay for themselves.
Another reason for the increased costs, and an undeniable one at that, is the fact that whether you know it or not, there is something of a monopoly at play. A great number of eyewear options are provided by subsets of brands within a large conglomerate, namely Luxottica, which covers most of the high-street chains, lens companies and high-end brands that offer the glasses, and frames, in your local store.
An absence of effective competition leads to price gouging on some fronts, which then leads to more being taken from your pocket.
In recent times there have been efforts by some individual providers to buck the trend or to try to market their products in a less pricey manner, and in the age of COVID-19, where the costs can prove to be even more prohibitive, you may well see that occurring more and more frequently.
One Canadian company, Vancouver-based KITS, has recently adopted a clever marketing campaign that will see 30,000 pairs of prescription glasses handed over to customers for free. Albeit there are additional costs in relation to premium lenses and coating, but the intention is a sound one.
Additionally, online shops have competitive buy now and pay later programs. The payment installments allow customers to split payments with zero interest. This is a much better option than using low interest credit cards in Canada.
Affordable eyewear is a real problem, not just in the western world but also acutely in areas of real poverty where very often those with poor eyesight must simply do without quality glasses.
Many in these countries must look to national health services to cover the costs of what is clearly a distinct need, not unlike any other medical ailment that would usually be provided by these services.
There are real benefits in the developing world to those countries that seek to subsidize the respective costs of such schemes, the UN estimates that the loss to the global economy from uncorrected myopia (nearsightedness) runs at an astonishing $244 billion per year, hence the obvious benefits to offering a solution to those sufferers.
You’re Paying for Expertise
For those of us in the western world, where the need is generally one we can cover ourselves, though at a stretch, there is still a nagging concern that we may well be the subject of some sort of over-arching scam.
While it’s true that to some extent the needs displayed by the customer are being exploited it should be noted that a lot of technical, and individual, expertise is required to produce a superior pair of glasses.
The manufacturing of glasses is not a cheap undertaking and you are of course paying for the skill and knowledge your personal optometrist provides, which in turn leads to the designing and production of the right spectacles for you.
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