Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a Placer.ai account? Log In

Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear

by 
Lila Margalit
 on 
February 27, 2024
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear

With Q4 2023 under our belts, we dove into the data to check in with leading eyewear brands Warby Parker and America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses – both of which have expanded their brick-and-mortar footprints in recent years. How did they fare in the final months of 2023? And what does their performance bode for the future of offline eyewear sales this year?

Plenty to See Here

Warby Parker, the digitally-native darling that burst onto the scene in 2010 as an online-only retailer, opened its first physical store in 2013 and now operates some 250 venues across 38 states and the District of Columbia. And the trendy eyewear brand’s visits continue to grow alongside its expanding store fleet, with chain-wide year-over-year (YoY) foot traffic increases ranging from 16.6% to 37.0%. Warby Parker’s continued offline flourishing – despite the chain’s online origins – highlights the continued importance of physical stores for the glasses-buying experience.

National Vision’s America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses – the discount eyewear chain that features more than 900 locations nationwide – has also been on a growth trajectory. Over the past several months, the chain saw consistent YoY visit increases, partly driven by its expanding physical presence. And in Q3 2023, the brand also reported a rise in comparable store sales – showcasing healthy demand for its offerings.

What is the secret to the success of these very different chains? To explore some of the factors driving traffic to Warby Parker and America’s Best, we segmented the audiences of their trade areas with demographic data from STI’s PopStats and psychographics from Spatial.ai’s PersonaLive – and the results were striking. 

Warby Parker Broadens its Lens

Over the past four years, the median household income (HHI) of Warby Parker’s potential market – i.e. the census block groups (CBGs) from which the chain draws its customers, weighted to reflect each one’s population size – has decreased. This indicates that as Warby Parker has expanded its fleet, it has opened stores in areas that are slightly less affluent than Warby Parker’s legacy markets – although the median HHI in these newer markets also stands significantly above the nationwide median of $69.5K. 

But over the same period, the median HHI of the brand’s captured market continued to climb. (A chain’s captured market is derived by weighting the CBGs in its trade area according to the share of visitors from each CBG – thus mirroring the characteristics of the chain’s actual visitor base). The increase in captured market median HHI over time indicates that Warby Parker has been successful at reaching well-to-do audiences even within its newer, more economically diverse markets. 

America’s Best Sets its Sights on Price-Conscious Consumers

Unlike Warby Parker, America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses serves a lower-HHI demographic. The median household income of the chain’s captured market in Q4 2023 was $66.2K –  4.7% below the nationwide median of $69.5K. And looking at America’s Best’s three largest regional markets – Texas, Florida, and California – shows that the chain’s captured market median HHI in each of these states is also lower than the relevant statewide baseline.

But while the chain’s visitor median HHI trends seem consistent across regions, diving deeper into the data suggests that the chain does attract different types of shoppers in different areas.  Nationwide, the share of singles and individuals from large households in America’s Best’s captured market is just slightly above nationwide baselines. But in California, the share of large households in America’s Best’s captured market is 21.0% – significantly higher than the statewide baseline of 16.5%, while the share of singles falls below the Golden State’s baseline of 23.2%.

Key Takeaways

Digital try-on and easy returns have made online glasses shopping a viable option for many consumers. But the continued offline success of Warby Parker and America’s Best shows that there’s still plenty of demand for brick-and-mortar eyewear stores – discount and higher-end alike. What lies in store for the offline eyewear space in 2024?

Follow Placer.ai to find out.

This blog includes data from Placer.ai Data Version 2.0, which implements improvements to our extrapolation capabilities, adds short visit monitoring, and enhances visit detection.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Placer.ai Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Text Link
Warby Parker
Text Link
Eye Care
Text Link
America’s Best
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth
Placer.ai Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again
Placer.ai Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024?
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy
Placer.ai Mall Index: February 2024
Placer.ai Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024: Placer.ai’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains
Placer.ai Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top
Placer.ai and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap
Placer.ai Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season
Placer.ai Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023