ALEXANDRIA, Va.—On the heels of New York Fashion Week, where wearable tech was featured among the year’s hottest trends, The Vision Council has released a new report delving into consumer awareness, interest and sentiment toward smart eyewear products. The report, Focused inSights Smart Eyewear 2023, found that more than a third of Americans intend to purchase tech eyewear within the year, with men aged 18-44, those in urban communities and early adopters of technology especially likely to purchase.

Most American adults are aware of smart eyewear, which the report defines as “connected eyewear that offers wireless connectivity and many “smart” features right in the frames such as the ability to answer calls, listen to music, reply to messages and use a voice assistant,” but the depth of awareness is low. Although most (56 percent) adults say they have heard of smart eyewear, just one-in-ten (9 percent) know exactly what it is.

A lack of general “buzz” may be contributing to a shallow understanding of smart eyewear products. Though wearable technology is becoming more accessible and affordable to consumers, only approximately one-in-four (23 percent) adults say they have seen, read or heard about smart eyewear products in the past year, and half (52 percent) say they have heard nothing at all about these products.

Those most likely to have recently heard about smart eyewear products are early adopters of technology (50 percent) and those aged 18-34 (41 percent). Despite a low depth of awareness, half of adults have a favorable impression of these products.

“As consumers continue to incorporate new forms of technology into their health and wellness routines, it’s likely that many individuals will be interested in smart eyewear and want to integrate it into their everyday life,” said Alysse Henkel, senior director of Market Research and Analytics at The Vision Council. “This signifies an exciting new era for the optical industry, with smart eyewear emerging as accessible, fashionable innovations and wearable technology.”

Some of the report highlights include the following:

Adults who have used smart eyewear products are split on whether they would recommend them, with two-in-five people (43 percent) saying they would recommend smart eyewear products to a family member, friend or colleague, while one-in-three (33 percent) say they would not recommend these products.

Adults opt to purchase smart eyewear for various reasons including that they think these products “will be useful” (42 percent), “fun to use” (39 percent), and they are “interested in their technology and features” (41 percent).

Adults who have recently seen, read, or heard about smart eyewear products are most likely to say it was on YouTube (44 percent) and Facebook (41 percent).

This study was conducted from July 29-30, 2023 in collaboration with Morning Consult. The full report is available in The Vision Council’s Research Download Center as a complimentary download for members of The Vision Council, with a paid option for non-members.