Warby Parker says your smartphone is ruining your eyes, and that’s good for its business

Man on train using tablet and smartphone
Man using smartphone on train. Westend61/Getty Images
  • Direct-to-consumer eyeglasses startup Warby Parker has filed its IPO paperwork with the SEC.
  • The company said the market for glasses is growing because vision health is getting worse.
  • A trade group estimates eyewear to be a $US140 ($AU193) billion global industry.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Eyewear startup Warby Parker has publicly filed paperwork for its initial public offering after it confidentially filed with the US Securities Exchange Commission in June.

Most recently valued at $US3 ($AU4) billion following a funding round in 2020, the company reported total sales of $US394 ($AU544) million that year and a net loss of $US56 ($AU77) million.

It also said it is operating in a market that an industry trade group estimates at $US140 ($AU193) billion globally, with $US21 ($AU29) billion in the US. And the market is growing, the filings say.

Read more: 
Warby Parker is staffing up its corporate team with an eye towards ‘public company readiness’

About three-quarters of adults in the US used some form of vision correction last year, and that number is expected to increase as the population ages, according to The Vision Council.

In addition, Warby Parker says our near-constant use of digital screens is wreaking havoc on our eyes.

“The rising usage of smartphones, tablets, computers, and other devices has contributed significantly to increased vision correction needs and consistent new customer growth within the eyewear market,” Warby Parker said.

Since it was founded in 2010, the company has been a pioneer in the digital-first, direct-to-consumer marketing trend that has reshaped retail over the past decade.

Even with more than 2 million customers last year, the company estimates it sold corrective lenses to less than 2% of all adults who use them in the US.

Warby Parker raised $US245 ($AU338) million in its funding round last year, and co-CEOs Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa told The Wall Street Journal they are on track to add 35 new stores this year to bring its total to 180 stores.