NOVATO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Zenni Optical, the online optical industry leader, celebrates the company’s sweet 16 birthday with more than 25 million pairs of glasses sold. Zenni continues to see strong growth year-over-year and in 2018 alone, the online retailer sold more than five million pairs of glasses. Since its founding in 2003, the company’s mission has focused on providing the highest quality prescription eyewear at a fraction of the cost of traditional retailers and delivers solely direct to consumer via its online store. With a complete prescription pair starting at just $6.95, and averaging just over $40, the company has brought massive price disruption to the traditional retail model.
Zenni’s continued growth in 2018 resulted in gross revenue of more than $214 million, attributed in part to a sharp increase in sales for the company’s blue light blocking and UV protective lenses called Blokz, expanded brand marketing efforts, and specific product campaigns throughout the year focused on Pride, Kids’ Flex Frames, Shopping by Face Shape and Festival Wear.
Blokz sales specifically increased 50 percent year-over-year from 2017 to 2018, due in large part to a starting price point of $16.95. Due to the recent popularity of blue light-blocking technology, Zenni has expanded Blokz to include a photochromic option which darkens in sunlight, as well as Blokz sunglass lens arriving in April.
In October of 2018, the brand forged a landmark partnership with the Chicago Bulls to serve as the iconic basketball franchise’s official eyewear partner and first jersey patch sponsor. As the NBA season got underway, Zenni saw a substantial increase in sales in the Chicago market – up 33 percent in November and 53 percent for December respectively year-over-year. Zenni partnered with the Bulls to leverage the team’s relevance locally, nationally and globally, as Zenni aspires to have similar domestic and international significance in the near future.
“Zenni continues its growth because of our unique ability to provide high-quality lenses and frames at a fraction of competitors’ prices,” said Tibor Laczay, co-founder, and CEO of Zenni Optical. “We’ve worked diligently through the years to create a vertically integrated business that can very successfully drive profitable margins without overpricing the product. When you buy glasses from a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer, you’re not just paying for the frame and lenses; you’re also paying big money to cover the retailer’s hefty outsourcing costs, which usually include manufacturing, licensing fees, warehousing, and more. Zenni has its own state-of-the-art production facility with advanced prescription and edging labs. We cut out the middlemen and pass huge savings on to the consumer instead.”
Bridging the traditional retail gap is a primary focus for Zenni as it continues to migrate consumers online, and as a result the company recently released a new Virtual Try On tool allowing customers to see each of their glasses selections in a 180-degree view on their face. This option offers a truer perspective of fit and aesthetics of any given style and is easily accomplished in a few simple steps.
Zenni’s brand awareness also continues to increase thanks to a national broadcast advertising campaign launched late last year featuring mythical creatures, including aliens, Yetis and the Chupacabra, satirizing the incredible prices for Zenni prescription glasses, titled “Seeing is Believing.” Zenni has also focused TV creative in the “Eyewear for Every You” concept with a partnership with Lifetime’s American Beauty Star and a complementary ad campaign.
Supporting these efforts is Zenni’s best-in-class customer service, which was recognized by Newsweek magazine’s inaugural 2019 list of America’s Best Companies for Customer Service as the top in the online eyewear retailer category. Newsweek selected companies based on an independent survey of more than 20,000 U.S. customers who have either made purchases, used services, or gathered information about products or services in the past three years. Customers were asked whether they would recommend brands to friends or family; additionally, participants assessed brands in the following areas: quality of communications, technical competence, range of services, customer focus, and accessibility.
Cementing its influence in the eyewear industry, Zenni was invited to join an esteemed group of industry leaders and luminaries as part of the University of California Berkeley School of Optometry’s Partners in Education Program. The multi-faceted partnership includes the establishment of the Zenni Free Pediatric Eyeglass Program, offering eye exams and free glasses to grade school students in need. Zenni’s support also helps fund eye care appointments and glasses for uninsured pediatric patients and families at the Berkeley Optometry Pediatric Eye Clinic.
In addition to the eyeglass program, Zenni’s early investment into the partnership will provide support for student activities, projects and events, school programming, internships and training of technically proficient doctors in clinical and basic science.
“Zenni is very proud to be collaborating with Berkeley Optometry to live out our company’s mission of providing high-quality eyewear to those in need, while also empowering students through educational and professional development resources on a national scale,” said Julia Zhen, co-founder of Zenni Optical.
Zenni Optical pioneered the online eyewear business in 2003 to make prescription eyewear affordable and accessible to everyone. Based in Marin County, California, Zenni offers men, women, and children the freedom to express their personal style and individuality through high-quality prescription glasses and sunglasses. With its curated collections and thousands of frames, Zenni has sold over 25 million pairs of glasses since its founding. Zenni is proud to be the Official Eyewear Partner of the Chicago Bulls. For more information, visit www.zenni.com or connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.