How direct-to-consumer brands are changing eyewear

Meet the new opticians that are changing the way we buy glasses, and bringing some much-needed innovation to the eyewear market

E-commerce has transformed the way we shop for everything from beauty products to gadgets – but the experience of buying glasses has changed little in the past two decades.

In the UK, the market is dominated by a handful of brands – Boots, Specsavers, Vision Express, Optical Express and Tesco – and purchasing products at these stores often has more in common with a visit to your local GP than shopping for a new pair of trainers. Stores are outdated and clinical, choice is limited and pricing can be opaque, with ‘optional’ (but arguably essential) features such as anti-glare lens coatings incurring an extra fee. Buying a new pair of glasses is rarely an enjoyable experience – and one that most of us tend to avoid unless we’re in need of a new prescription.

But a new group of opticians is aiming to change all this by offering an experience that is more in line with fashion retailers than traditional opticians. And their success is proof of a growing appetite for an alternative to the likes of Specsavers and Vision Express.