Style

Turns Out A Single Company Controls Several Of The Outlets Where You Buy Eyeglasses

Luxottica has an outsized influence over the entire industry, and they can charge you whatever they want.
09/14/2016 03:27pm ET | Updated October 28, 2016

When it comes to eyeglasses and sunglasses, you often either lose them or they break easily. And most of the time, the cheaper frames are just as good as designer pairs.

And here’s why ― they’re probably both made by the same company.

Emily Axford, co-host of TruTV’s “Adam Ruins Everything,” argues in the video below that the whole thing is rigged, saying 80 percent of brands are owned by one company: Luxottica (on the show’s website, they cite a 2014 article in Forbes). And this company controls a lot of the production chain, from the frames themselves to the stores where we buy our glasses, to even some of our health insurance.

(In an email to The Huffington Post, Luxottica disputed the 80 percent figure and said that it “manufactures 27 brands, only seven of which are actually owned by us.” In a statement to Snopes.com, the company said its sales account for only 10 percent of frames sold worldwide. Snopes.com did, however, conclude that “[r]egardless of the actual figure, much of ‘Adam Ruins Everything’s’ assessment of Luxottica’s market dominance was accurate.”)

Persol? Luxottica. Prada? Luxottica. Ray Bans, Ralph Lauren, Versace and Michael Kors? Luxottica makes glasses for them all.

Axford says this virtual monopoly gives Luxottica the “power to drive up the price of glasses for everybody, sometimes charging as much as 20 times what they cost to produce.”

So whereas Luxottica could technically just label everything “Luxottica,” they won’t, because Axford states: “What Luxottica is really selling you is the illusion of choice.”

May you see the world a little more clearly now.

This article has been updated throughout in light of comment from Luxottica, as well as information from Snopes.com on the figures cited in the video.

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