To follow supermodels and actors would lead you to believe that everyone spends hundreds of dollars on sunglasses. And while many people do, a lot of others do not. There is a very strong market for less expensive brands from companies like Utah-based Olympic Eyewear, brands that offer just as much quality and style but at a fraction of the price.
In so many areas of life there seems to be a great divide between the average consumer and the celebrities who get all the media face time. That great divide is often measurable in dollar signs. Whereas models and actors can afford to spend money like they have too much, the average American has to be a lot more conscious. That’s why for every pair of expensive Oakley’s sold, there is another pair of $15 cheapies.
The Daily Nebraskan recently went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to talk to students about their eyewear choices. What they discovered clearly explains why not everyone feels the need to spend a fortune on sunglasses.
Function and Practicality
One of the first things mentioned by students was the function and practicality of sunglasses. In other words, the students made their eyewear choices based sunglasses doing what they are supposed to do. Sunglasses are intended, first and foremost, to protect the eyes against UV rays. That is what the students were looking for.
Remember that college students do not necessarily have wads of money to throw around. If they need to invest in a new pair of shades, the first thing they are looking at is function. After that it is practicality.
Surprisingly, another reason students gave for buying inexpensive sunglasses is convenience. You would think this wouldn’t be an issue in a day and age when anyone can order sunglasses online and have them shipped right to your door. A student interviewed by the paper gave this explanation: she prefers to buy cheap sunglasses at gas stations because it’s convenient.
The student went on to explain that she can “always find a pair at a gas station” when she needs them. Gas stations provide instant gratification while shopping online for Ray Bans means waiting for delivery, at least overnight.
A Better Price
It shouldn’t be surprising that a lot of the students talked about the better price inexpensive sunglasses afforded. That’s a big thing for cash-strapped students. If you are trying to go to school and work part-time, you want to put your money to good use. A lot of students believe it’s better to invest in a cheap pair of sunglasses that perform well than spend hundreds of dollars on a designer pair.
Believe it or not, a number of students expressed appreciation for cheap sunglasses because of the greater variety. This actually makes sense when you step back and think about it.
You can make the case that the inventory produced by the most expensive designer brands is somewhat limited. Different pairs of sunglasses may have different names, but they all look pretty much the same. You’re not really paying for variety, you are paying for a designer’s name.
Go down to the local department store and you will see something completely different. Manufacturers of cheap sunglasses put a lot more effort into offering variety – mainly because they can. They are marketing to the ‘everyman’ ideal, one that says variety is a good thing.
So now you know. Not everyone is spending a fortune to buy sunglasses. There are a lot of people who are perfectly content with cheap sunglasses from lesser-known brands.