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Complex optical market demands adaptation, industry expert

The increasing complexity of the optical market could create many challenges to independent practices when a number of macro retail and global trends gain momentum, which means optometrists will need to embrace change and adapt to trends if they want to remain competitive.

That’s the view of industry expert, Mr Gianni Cossar, GfK global director for optics and eyewear. He believes the optometry profession is starting to operate in a unique space where products with disparate end users coexisted in the same retail environment.

“This stretches from a semi-pharmaceutical environment – vision care being typically one extension of the greater healthcare industry, where companies such as Novartis operate – to a fashion-accessories focused setting marked by very well-known brands,” Cossar said.

In what he describes as a coup for the Australian optical profession, SILMO Sydney organiser Mr Gary Fitz-Roy has announced that Cossar will deliver presentations on global trends and opportunities at the inaugural trade fair.

Fitz-Roy announced that the three-day event would be highlighted with two free seminars by Cossar, who will outline current industry conditions and how suppliers and retailers can adapt to an evolving market.

GfK is based in Germany and is a renowned expert on market research, which provides data and intelligence for more than 100 countries.

Cossar’s first seminar is titled, ‘How the optics industry and optical retailers can adapt to evolving market conditions to deliver margins and growth’ which will take place on the show’s opening day, Thursday, 9 March.

He will present a second free seminar the following day covering the opportunities and trends for the global optics industry and optical retailers.

According to Cossar, the economic climate in Australia for the past few years has been stable however, “The optical industry has therefore been operating in a favourable business climate. As the economic and political outlook in the Asian-Pacific Region and globally enters into more uncertain times, implications are also expected on the optical market, distribution channels and in consumer behaviour.”

Fitz-Roy said, “The inclusion of these important seminar topics is most timely given the recent announcement of a possible merger between optical giants Essilor and Luxottica. I have no doubt that most optometrists and dispensers will want to hear predictions about the future of their industry.”

He added that Cossar is very well-placed to present on the current market given that he previously worked at Salmoiraghi & Viganò, an Italian optical chain which was acquired by Luxottica in November last year.

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“Our aim is to re-invigorate the profession by bringing an international perspective to the Australian market and offering an exciting show for optical professionals and decision makers. When you add [OA’s] Super Sunday to the program, the industry will be pleased at what our collaboration with SILMO, the world’s largest optical fair, can achieve,” Fitz-Roy said.   

The National Retail Association (NRA), one of Australia’s largest retail industry organisations, will also collaborate with SILMO Sydney to participate in the Independent Retailers Conference on the show floor. SILMO Sydney 2017 will take place at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, March 9–11.

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