Essilor – seeing the world better


By 3rd day of our student residency trip in Singapore, we have already visited companies from completely different fields, as consultancy (M2 Management), food (Danone), internet-related product/services (Google) and sports (ISM).

A new day has started with the company that accounts for 60,000 employees all around the world (600 in Singapore) and has a turnover of €5 billion and a market capitalization of €17 billion. Essilor – a French company that manufactures and sells corrective lenses. 90% of their business is done outside of France and 16 out their 21 factories are in Asia. Essilor is present in 60 countries and is in Asia since 1982.

The firm is one of the most innovative players on its market (ranked 23rd most innovative company, all sectors mixed: with Apple, etc.). In order to achieve this, the company has got 300 laboratories worldwide to lead the Research & Development of new technologies.

Essilor was created in 1972, when Essel (founded in 1849: progressive lenses Varillux) and Silor (founded in 1931: plastic lenses) merged. Nowadays, Essilor is only doing plastic lenses because it is lighter and easily manufacturable.

2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to vision correction and 30% of drop-off from school is due to non-vision or bad vision. Plus, nowadays, people are increasingly looking at their PCs, phone, tablets, etc. which are hurting the eyes.

According to statistics, 4.2 billion people all over the world (approximately 65% of worldwide population) need vision correction. By 2030, 6 billion people will need vision correction. This market is therefore a large and growing optical market, which is still significantly under penetrated and highly fragmented. In Europe, there is one vision-correction shop for 8,000 people. In India, there is one shop for 250 people. In today’s market conditions, people use on average 7 of their annual income on vision equipment (frames and lenses).

Essilor has got 570 million consumers per annum, among which a big market in Singapore because 80% of the children in Singapore are myopic.

The divisions of the company in Asia are very special. The market is so particular that the products are tailored-developed and dedicated to Asia because the consumers are not the same than anywhere else in the world. This business is relying heavily on a fast and efficient supply chain. Indeed, a lot of tourists in Singapore need to have very fast delivery (within two days of their holidays) because they are moving fast.

The strategy of Essilor is simple and is composed of four main components:

 Innovate – Develop – Grow – Stimulate

Innovate on product and services, develop top and mid tiers markets, grow by acquisitions and partnerships, stimulate demand for vision improvement.

Speaking of development, the AMERA markets (Asia, Middle-East, Russia and Africa) are expected to double in volume by 2020, threfore, we have clearly understood from our company visit that Essilor is operating in a growing environment which forecasts many good years in the near future.


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