Makers update colors, contours and adornments as fashion sunglasses dominate shipments.
Eyewear suppliers in China are directing product development efforts toward enhancing visual appeal.
Mixing different materials continues to be a common way to vary texture, color and pattern. Many models pair plastic and metal for the frame and temples. Some even adopt leather temple tips.
Businesses are also emphasizing details on the side arms. New designs have either streamlined or thick, geometric versions. The popular hues are white, gunmetal, burgundy, gold and silver.
Bold trimmings are added near the hinge, especially in women's styles. Generally made of metal, these take the shape of hearts or flowers. Many are studded with rhinestones as well.
Allover-printed reading glasses and optical frames often have matching cases and pouches. Fashion sunglasses utilize lenses in gradient shades.
Despite the emphasis on aesthetics, makers are not losing view of function. An increasing number of companies are adopting polarized lenses that reduce glare. Resistance to scratching, fog and UV rays is also incorporated in the latest releases.
For sports sunglasses, wraparound structures are gaining ground because they provide better eye protection by limiting the entry of light from multiple angles. To shield the peripheral vision, lenses have a 10-degree curve. TPR is employed for the temple tips and nose pads to achieve nonslip but comfortable wear.
China suppliers of eyewear offer fashion and sports sunglasses, reading glasses and optical frames. The first two dominate output, and account for approximately one-half of exports in the line. In January to October 2010, the country's overseas sales exceeded 1.6 billion pairs worth $1.4 billion. More than one-third originated from Zhejiang province.
Prices start below $1.80 and can exceed $7.50, depending on the frame, temple and lens materials, coatings and trimmings.
Metal models are generally more expensive than plastic designs. The specific types utilized in the low end are brass and NiAg.
Monel, AlMg, stainless steel, memory metal and titanium are considered upscale.
Among the available synthetics, acrylic and PC are the least costly options, while acetate, CR-39 and memory resin are for intermediate and high-end pairs.
The majority of factories have molding capability for the frame and temples. The components are finished through electroplating, spray painting or printing.
Acrylic, TAC, CR-39 and PC are the lens choices. The last is widely adopted because it is light and impact-resistant. The optics can be polarized and have UV400 protection.
Mirror, anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings may be added in gradated or multiple layers to improve performance. The most expensive variant is from Revo, but a more affordable counterpart is available from domestic upstream suppliers.
Nearly all manufacturers outsource lenses for in-house shaping and mounting. Low-end and midrange versions are purchased from locally owned or Taiwan-invested providers in Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. Parts that incorporate patented technology are usually from Japan, South Korea, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the UK and the US.
As regards trimmings, leather temple tips, engraved logos and crystal inlays translate to higher prices.
Function and structure influence quotes as well. Models with an MP3 player, FM radio, compass or flash drive feature are among the most expensive. Rimless optical frames and reading glasses are costlier than full or half styles because they employ a complex mounting technique.
Regardless of eyewear type and price segment, products comply with CE and FDA requirements.
Quotes are expected to increase up to 5 percent in the next six months due to rising material and labor outlay.
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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