May 13, 2009, 12:00 AM

Coastal Contacts focuses on eyeglasses and sees results

After more than a year of marketing to Canada and Sweden, the e-retailer has sold 100,000 pairs of eyeglasses online. Coastal says it has only scratched the surface and is preparing to sell to more countries.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Coastal Contacts Inc. has reached a web selling milestone: The e-retailer has delivered 100,000 pairs of prescription eyeglasses via the web since launching the program regionally in Canada and Sweden in February 2008.

Coastal Contacts is encouraged by the results of its focused program for eyeglasses, designed to round out its vision offerings, which include contact lenses and eyeglasses accessories. Well over 90% of its business is in contact lenses sold to consumers in North America, Europe and Japan. The company says it plans to roll out its eyeglasses product offerings to the rest of the countries in its three markets in a targeted fashion.

Coastal Contacts, No. 118 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, reports more than 60% of U.S. adults require vision correction and that number is growing owing to the aging population and increased computer usage. As a result, in addition to contact lenses sales, more than 75 million pairs of prescription eyeglasses are sold annually in the U.S., the company says.

“The market opportunity for high quality eyeglasses at an affordable price delivered direct to consumers is immense and we have just scratched the surface,” says Roger Hardy, Coastal Contacts founder and CEO. “By hitting this milestone after only launching the program regionally, combined with the overwhelmingly positive feedback we receive from our customers, it has become clear that the model works and is resonating with consumers in a challenging economic climate.”

In other news, the e-retailer has added progressive lenses to its expanding eyeglasses product offerings. Coastal Contacts says progressive and continual focus lenses comprise approximately 26% of the 75 million prescription eyeglasses sold annually in the U.S.

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