Warby Parker eyeing a new $5B market

Scout is a brand of “breathable and affordable” contacts available in stores and online.

Eyewear retailer Warby Parker has a new market in its sights: people who wear contacts.

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The New York-based company, founded in 2010, announced the launch of Scout, a brand of “breathable and affordable” contacts available in Warby Parker stores and online.

“Our goal has always been to give our customers the most seamless, consumer-centric experience possible when it comes to vision products,” said Warby co-founder and co-CEO Neil Blumenthal, according to a report, adding that research shows customers who wear contacts and glasses often must visit two separate eye-care providers.

“Historically, shopping for optical products hasn’t been a particularly fun experience for customers,” Blumenthal said, “and our mission has always been to change that.”

And jumping into the contact lens market could prove fruitful. Total revenue generated by contacts in the United States hit a whopping $5 billion in 2016, data site Statisa shows.

For Warby, a three-month supply of contacts will more or less align with other brands in terms of price at $110, or $1.25 per day. Customers can also sign up for a brief $5 trial where customers will be given a $5 credit that can be used to purchase Scout or any other Warby Parker product.

The company will also sell other contact brands along with its trademark prescription and non-prescription glasses, starting around $95, that users can try out virtually at home.

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In addition to the new lenses, Warby is letting customers get an in-store optical exam, and Blumenthal believes the carousel of options will keep people coming back: “When we thought about scaling as a business, we focused on going deep into the optical category, rather than entering different categories like, say, fashion or watches,” he said.

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As of March 2018, Warby was valued at $1.75 billion and has raised nearly $300 million in funding.

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This story has been updated to reflect the correct size of the contact lens market as $5 billion, not $5 million as originally reported