Tailor your eyewear marketing to this digitally driven, highly individualistic consumer group.

With their phones at the ready, they find a product on social media, examine reviews and compare prices, and they want it. Right. Now. Welcome to the shopping habits of the Millennials-those born between 1977 and 2000-and the first generation to never know life before the Internet.

“By the end of 2015, Millennials will be the largest living generation, and it is important to communicate in the spaces that they choose to be in,” explains Beverly Suliteanu, vice president of product development for WestGroupe, whose Superflex and KLiiK: denmark brands cater to this segment. Characterized by qualities such as a desire for individuality, a rejection of the status quo, civic-mindedness, and a high dependence on technology, the Millennials also perceive glasses to be cool.


“If consumers see a style or a color on Instagram or Pinterest, they expect to be able to find something very similar very quickly,” says Kat Harding, senior marketing coordinator for The McGee Group, which designs the XOXO Girl brand with bright, bold colors. Since the “XOXO customer is plugged in at all times,” the company works with its licensor to create monthly eye-catching photos to post. “Millennials enjoy multitasking, so images or infographics and headlines are best when trying to catch their attention,” Harding adds.

Video content also promotes strong engagement, and SMITH has been running its Life Beyond Walls series featuring pieces from the Archive Collection on social media. Designed in the late ’80s and early ’90s and updated to reflect today’s fit parameters, modern optics, and trending colors, the Archive Collection’s authentic look reflects the Gen Y gestalt, according to SMITH category manager Joe Synder. Safilo’s iconic Carrera brand goes back further; the first sunwear came out in 1956, and it has been reinterpreted and remastered for 2015. The global campaign “Out There” (#outthere) features brand ambassadors in dynamic videos and encourages viewers to share their own journeys. GUESS Eyewear from Marcolin USA has a Rolodex of style bloggers whom they invite to launch events, and then the latest looks are sent into the blogosphere, according to CEO Fabrizio Gamberini.


Nouveau Eyewear’s Cantera for men and Hot Kiss for women both feature a blend of vintage, modern style. “Fashion for this segment is a fast-moving target, so it’s essential that retailers know the story behind the product and can pass it on to the patient,” says John DeLuna, vice president of marketing. Zyloware Eyewear’s bold Leon Max line also has a Limited Edition Collection for stand out looks (for more, on this collection, see “Leon Max for Today’s Fashionista,” p. 40).

When it comes to design, the bolder, the better, and the quirkier the messaging, the more it resonates with this generation. Tura, Inc.’s Ted Baker collection is defined by humor and pop culture references. For 2015, a playful campaign showcases colorful fruit collages with faces with the tagline: “Keep Your Eyes Peeled-Eyewear With Appeal.” VP of marketing Audrey Pavia asserts, “Ted Baker’s designs celebrate beauty and individuality, connecting on a personal level, which is exactly how Millennials like to connect.” They aren’t slaves to labels, either, according to Kenmark Optical, which produces kensie and Original Penguin eyewear. “They will buy what completes their look,” says Amanda Lock, product designer for kensie, who also has this advice for optical shops: “Let them feel like they make the product trendy-the glasses are just becoming a part of who they already are.”

This well-educated, discerning group also has a serious side, according to Ogi Eyewear CEO Joe Tallier. “They expect extraordinary design and amazing quality,” he explains. “This is an incredible generation that will help redefine our nation and once their business is earned, they tend to be loyal.”

Michele Silver is managing editor of VCPN.


Kenmark Optical 800-627-2898 •

Marcolin USA 800-345-8482 •

The McGee Group 800-966-2020 •

Nouveau Eyewear 800-292-4342 •

Ogi Eyewear 888-560-1060 •

Safilo USA 800-631-1188 •

SMITH 888-206-2995 •

Tura, Inc. 800-242-8872 •

WestGroupe 800-361-6220 •

Zyloware Eyewear 800-765-3700 •



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