Sunglass Hut Scammers | Teen Ink

Sunglass Hut Scammers

March 28, 2023
By Streckertorin BRONZE, Cannon Falls, Minnesota
Streckertorin BRONZE, Cannon Falls, Minnesota
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I remember once on a summer vacation traveling with my family we were walking through San Francisco’s Pier Thirty-Nine. Seagulls calling as they swoop overhead, the salty smell of the sea and of course, the noise of happy tourists bustling about. There was a Sunglass Hut on the wood planks with a man calling out for potential customers. Now, it's important to note my sister had recently broken her favorite pair of aviators and she desperately wanted new ones. She must have tried on at least a dozen pairs constantly looking in those goofy little mirrors until finally she asked for the price of one pair. One-hundred and sixty dollars for a pair of sunglasses which were maybe twenty-five dollars to make. All I remember thinking was seriously? These prices were so high that they might knock a plane out of the sky. That night I did some reading and the fact became increasingly clear: The eyewear industry has been overpriced and monopolized due mostly in part to the super company Luxottica.

First some clarifications, most of the articles I read labeled Luxottica as a monopoly but that label is actually incorrect. Sourcing the “Oxford Dictionary” in a post last updated in 2023, a monopoly is “The situation where one company controls all or a substantial majority of a market.” This being stated Luxottica would actually fall under the umbrella of an oligopoly defined as “a market in which there are only a few companies working together to produce or sell a product or service.” This system often results in less competition for the company and higher prices for customers. In fact with a successful enough oligopoly a company or companies can effectively pick almost any price they wish raising the sales price for a twenty five dollar pair of glasses by five hundred to a thousand percent.

Just how many people wear some form of eyewear? Sourcing a pdf posted by “” published 2021. There are 197.6 million adult vision correction users in the U.S, 166.5 million US adults wear Rx eyeglasses, 223.5 million Americans wear non prescription sunglasses, and 34.5 million Americans wear over-the-counter reading glasses. Of those consumers, the majority reported paying between $100 and $150 for frames alone. It should also be noted that many people wear glasses for fashion, not a necessity.

With these clarifications out of the way, let's look at this article's main focus Luxottica. Somewhat ironically on “Luxottica's Company Profile” they state in an almost prideful manner their assets. These assets include their eight proprietary brands, along with their Licensed brands made up of over twenty popular brands, many of these brands being household names in the industry like Costa, Ray-Ban, Persol, Oliver Peoples, and Oakley. They go on to disclose their global scale stating they cover “one hundred and fifty countries across five continents.” This system is supported by a retail network of “approximately 9,200 stores, with LensCrafters and Pearle Vision in North America, OPSM and Laubman & Pank in Australia and New Zealand, Spectacle Hut in Singapore, GMO and Óticas Carol in Latin America, Salmoiraghi & Viganò in Italy and Sunglass Hut worldwide.” If that doesn’t sound like a global supercompany then listen to this. They go on to state that one of their “competitive advantages” is their “vertically integrated business model covering the entire value chain: design, product development, manufacturing, logistics and distribution.” This and the fact that they bought out every drop of competition and there's your catastrophic problem.

Many would think with all this controversy people would speak out against Luxottica. In truth they have many times. Luxottica has been sued several times concerning their prices and their establishments with a settlement lying at around eight million this proves they definitely aren’t winning. That being said, Luxottica being a global supercompany has the money to pay for its lawsuits with little to no real changes, the real way to end an oligopoly such as Luxottica is to introduce competition that will sell the same style of product at reasonable prices.

Everyone wears glasses, whether they’re sunglasses, readers, or designer fashion statements. Currently the prices of these glasses are jacked up by several hundred dollars for no reason. Luxottica is the oligopoly responsible for this, and until someone can successfully out-sell them they will continue to sell at unruly prices. The best thing consumers can do is be informed of this issue and try on a different pair of glasses. Remember if they're cheap that doesn’t mean they're actually worth any less.

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