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Where do most people buy sunglasses?

woman buying sunglasses

Sunglasses can be purchased just about everywhere, with the vast majority sold at brick-and-mortar retailers. That includes everything from corner drugstores and gas stations to thrift shops and high-fashion clothing boutiques.

Only 8.3% of plano sunglasses (those without prescription lenses) were purchased online in 2019. But as people become increasingly comfortable with all types of e-commerce, and it becomes easier to buy specialty products like prescription eyeglasses online, that percentage is expected to skyrocket.

And the global sunglasses market is booming: People spent more than $14.5 billion on sunglasses in 2018. Forecasters predict global spending on sunglasses will reach approximately $39 billion annually, by 2024, with growth continuing at an impressive 5.5% per year.

Where is the best place to buy sunglasses?

The best place to buy sunglasses is from a reputable and trustworthy retailer. In addition to major department stores and eyewear chains like Sunglass Hut and Pearle Vision, you can choose a well-respected online retailer such as or a brand that specializes in sunglasses, like Costa.

If you wear prescription eyeglasses, it may make sense to get prescription sunglasses with the same level of vision correction. This way, you’ll be able to see clearly and comfortably both indoors and out.

You can get prescription shades from many online retailers, but if your prescription is complex, or if you want a professional to help you measure your pupillary distance (PD) — the distance between the centers of your pupils — you can visit an optical shop to have your prescription sunglasses fitted.

An optician can also guide you in selecting the sunglasses frames most flattering for your face shape and can explain the various lens color, gradient, mirroring, polarization and other coating options available.

ARE YOU SHOPPING FOR NEW SHADES? Find an optical store near you or shop online.

Who buys the most sunglasses?

Americans love their shades. People in the United States spend almost twice as much on sunglasses (over $5.6 million in 2017) as the French, who are the second-biggest sunglasses buyers ($2.9 million that same year).

Germany comes in third, and Italy ranks fourth. A fun fact though, is that Italians still spend more on sunglasses each year than the people of Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Portugal, Greece, Denmark and Finland combined.

Where in the U.S. are the most sunglasses sold?

Solid data is hard to come by, but ever since The Seattle Times published an article in 1993 claiming that Seattleites purchase 50% more sunglasses per capita than the national average, the Emerald City has been considered the sunglasses capital of the U.S.

In that article, the manufacturers of Ray-Ban sunglasses stated more of their products are sold in Washington than in any other U.S. state, with Louisiana and California rounding out the top three.

How often do people buy sunglasses?

The majority of American consumers purchase one or more pairs of sunglasses every year. Roughly 55% of adults in the United States misplace or break their sunglasses annually. Most of these sunglasses are lost in the car.

What to know before you buy sunglasses

Where you buy your sunglasses is less important than what you buy. It’s crucial to choose eyewear that offers maximum protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Look for sunglasses labeled “100% protection against UV 400” or “100% protection against UVA and UVB rays” to be sure that you’re buying a pair that will protect the health of your eyes.

Be careful about buying sunglasses secondhand or at exceptionally low prices. Often less expensive sunglasses contain lesser-quality lenses, which can cause eye strain and headaches. Plus, they may be missing the all-important element of 100% UV protection.

Also, the lenses of these rock-bottom price sunglasses may not offer the same shatter resistance as authentic name-brand sunglasses, which means you could get a severe eye injury from having a minor accident while wearing them.

READY FOR FUN IN THE SUN? Shop for sunglasses at an optical store near you or an online eyewear retailer.

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