The 5 Best European Countries to Produce Eyewear

Updated on January 18, 2024
In this article
In this article

Are you a fashion brand or want to launch your product line for sunglasses or optical frames? Then Europe is a great manufacturing region. In this article, we showcase the possibilities of producing your own eyewear brand in Europe and outline the best European countries to source your eyewear products.

The Resilient Eyewear Industry: From Necessity to Fashion Statement

The eyewear market is one of the most promising sectors globally, encompassing stylish sunglasses, spectacles, contact lenses, and other eyewear products. In 2020, the industry was valued at approximately 140 billion euros. Despite experiencing a downturn during the pandemic, the market quickly bounced back and is projected to reach 197.2 billion euros by 2027.

Eyewear holds a unique appeal, catering to both functional needs and fashion-forward desires. Prescription glasses and contact lenses serve as necessities for many individuals, while sunglasses and other accessories provide a stylish touch to complement any outfit. With a diverse range of models, shapes, and colors available, the eyewear market caters to every taste and preference, making it a resilient and ever-evolving industry.

The Ideal Production Type For Your Brand

Private Label Eyewear Production

Private label eyewear production corresponds to a manufacturer who creates customized eyewear products for third parties to sell under their brand. In other words, the manufacturer gives you the freedom to choose the design, materials, or customizations of the eyewear they manufacture for your brand. This personalized product will then be sold exclusively by the retailer or reseller who ordered the product, allowing you to enjoy ease in production while being able to make small customizations in your packaging and design.

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Private label eyewear production in Europe offers the best of both worlds. You benefit from the ease of producing a “generic” product, with the option to make customizations and make your eyewear unique. In other words, the machinery for production is already set, making it easier and faster to produce, and providing lower minimum order quantities, while giving you the opportunity to personalize some aspects of the product.

White Label Eyewear Production

White-label eyewear production is the most cost-effective type of production, but also the easiest. In this process, all the necessary machinery is already set for production, and no customizations need to be made, making it so that the production is a lot faster than private label or contract manufacturing. If you are a beginner and don’t have a huge budget, consider white-labeling production for generic packaging that is only missing the branding. Private labels and white labels can be similar, but there are key differences between them, especially when it comes to eyewear production in Europe.

The 5 Best Countries to Produce Eyewear

1. Italy: The Global Leader in Fashion Eyewear

Italy is renowned for its eyewear industry, making it one of the best countries for producing glasses. Beyond eyewear, Italy is a great country to manufacture products for fashion, but also food brands. As a global leader in fashion, the Italian eyewear sector is home to some of the world’s most prominent brands. In 2020, Italy’s eyewear market reached 3.8 billion euros, with 2.2 billion attributed to exports. The market has consistently grown over the years, with expectations to continue expanding in the coming decade. France primarily imports Italian fashion eyewear, while Germany focuses on optical frames for prescription glasses.

With over 9,000 optical shops, Italy’s domestic eyewear market exceeds 1.6 billion euros annually. Despite a temporary setback due to the pandemic in 2020, the industry quickly recovered. Known for their impeccable sense of style, Italians often dictate fashion trends across Europe and beyond, crafting everything from subtle cat-eye frames to bold, colorful designs.

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2. Germany: The Prescription Eyewear Specialist

Germany is a European production country that stands for quality and manufacturing excellence. Excels in the spectacle lenses and prescription eyewear segment, boasting a market volume of 4.12 billion USD in 2022. As a major producer and exporter, Germany is an ideal location for eyewear production in Europe, offering a stable market and expertise in prescription eyewear manufacturing. By 2022, non-luxury goods are expected to account for 85% of the eyewear market sales.

Approximately 40 million Germans, or two-thirds of the population, wear glasses. On average, they own 3.7 pairs each and purchase new models every three years. Unafraid to experiment with intricate designs and shapes, Germans appreciate eyewear as a subtle yet powerful accessory.

3. France: The High-End Sunglasses Connoisseur

France as a production country, is very often chosen for lifestyle products. Hence, it is one of the most promising markets for the production of eyewear. French people are known for their style and taste in high-end fashion and have no problem paying a little more for the perfect model of glasses. In France, the prices of glasses can be as much as 250% inflated when compared to other countries. If your idea is a high-end and good-quality fashion eyewear line, it’s ideal to start your production in France, and Wonnda can help you find the best manufacturer to bring your idea into reality.

4. Netherlands: A Growing Market for Non-Luxury Eyewear

While not as renowned for high-end fashion as France, The Netherlands offers a robust market for private label production, also eyewear. With a population of 17 million, this market holds significant potential and high expectations for the future. The per-person revenue of 91.56 USD surpasses both Italy and Germany, two major eyewear producers and exporters.

5. Spain: Sun-Kissed Style and Essential Sunglasses

As Europe’s warmest country, choosing Spain as a production country presents an intriguing opportunity for eyewear. With ample sun and heat, sunglasses are a must-have accessory for Spanish people, who are known for their expressive style and sun-kissed skin. The market is stable and projected to experience a volume growth of 27.8% in 2023. Unlike other countries, the volume-per-person in Spain is approximately 0.2 pieces in 2022, showcasing a unique market dynamic.

Create your next product line with Wonnda

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Set up your account in less than 3 minutes and begin your journey with Wonnda. Unlock endless possibilities for your business, bring new products to market and streamline your sourcing process from idea to launch on one single platform.

About the author
Alice Pegorin
Alice Pegorin is a talented writer and a world-citizen who was born and raised in Brazil. In 2019, she moved to Lisbon, Portugal to pursue a BSc in Marketing and Advertising at IADE-UE. Following her passion for business management, Alice moved to Berlin, Germany in 2022 for her Erasmus semester at UE-Germany, where she completed her studies. Alice is a curious and open-minded individual who adapts easily to any environment. She enjoys exploring new cultures and experiences, and is always eager to learn. Currently based in Berlin, Alice travels to Portugal from time to time to visit friends. Her passion for writing and business management makes her an invaluable member of our team at Wonnda, and we're thrilled to have her on board.
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