sunglasses export industry continues to be focused
on the low-end market, although more midrange and
even high-end models are being produced as a trend
to improve design capability gradually takes hold.
China suppliers offer fashion, sports and children's
sunglasses, with exports for 2004 estimated to reach
Fashion designs are the biggest line, taking up
52 percent of export output by suppliers in this
report. Sports designs account for 34 percent and
children's models 14 percent. These output shares
will likely stay close to current levels for at
least the next two years, as most companies see
fashion models as the sector with the best growth
potential, followed by sports sunglasses.
Nearly all China sunglasses suppliers make both
fashion and sports models. Children's models are
produced by the majority of suppliers, but usually
as a sideline. Some companies do not make children's
models at all, while there are others that
specialize in the line.
are some of the key trends we see in China's
sunglasses export industry:
|Prices are expected to
increase as makers deal with rising material
and operating costs.
|Supplier interest in the EU
market has risen substantially among makers
that are improving products under efforts to
reap higher margins.
|More upscale components
such as titanium frames and polarized lenses
are being used on new releases, even as
low-end models continue to dominate exports.
|UV400 protection is
standard on all exports from
quality-certified suppliers, although fake
UV lenses do exist in China's industry and
cause price undercutting that puts pressure
on suppliers of low-end sunglasses using
Soaring oil costs in recent months have pushed up
sunglasses makers' expenditures for plastic frame
and lens materials. As a result, many makers plan to
inflate product prices in the year ahead.
The vast majority of China sunglasses makers do
not manufacture their own lenses, finding it more
cost-effective to source this key component from
optical companies. However, most makers are capable
of handling lens processing in-house, with the
emphasis on applying special coatings.
Suppliers are producing models with special
features such as curved, translucent and patterned
frames and mirror, rainbow, polarized and
power-magnification lenses. The most expensive
models from China have titanium frames and polarized
As competition in China's sunglasses industry has
intensified, the copying of designs has grown
fiercer. The result is urgency among suppliers to
release unique and innovative designs with greater
While the average number of new releases per year
among companies interviewed for this report is 300,
the large makers are capable of launching up to
1,000 new designs annually.
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