2024 was barely a week old before my suitcase was packed once again for the first trade show of the year, opti in Munich, Germany. It seems only yesterday that I returned from the last major trade show of my year in Istanbul, and here I was hoping on another airplane and heading across the pond. opti is arguably THE most organized trade show in optical. Could it be the German reputation for efficiency? Or is it the passion of the wonderful group of people at GHM who work all year long to put together opti. No matter how it comes about, opti is a joy from the moment the doors open to the final minutes of the final day. opti did things better than right.
opti 2024 saw a significant jump in the number of exhibitors from 2023. There were almost 400 exhibitors from 28 countries stretching across four halls this year at Fairground Munich. Some 21,500 visitors from 70 countries packed the four halls over the three-day show with a genuine enthusiasm to discover what’s new in optical for 2024. I was at the show from open to close each of the three days and saw orders being written in booth after booth. That is a very good sign for the optical industry…at least for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, the majority countries that opti is all about.
As I previously mentioned, opti is an extremely well-organized show. The evening before the show, opti hosted a dinner for the press where we were informed about the German optical market as well as with some wonderful statistics regarding Myopia and the research being conducted in Germany. The next morning, the first day of the show, I was invited to participate in a press tour where we were introduced to a number of the premier presentations and exhibits in opti prior to the opening of the halls to buyers gathering from around the world.
After the doors opened the throngs of optometrists and opticians, there were a number of fantastic presentations about the optical industry that were very well attended, including a series of presentations by Selin Olmsted on optical trends for 2025. Opti features a career hub, a special innovation area, and a sustainability hub just to name some of the various areas the folks at opti spent the past year putting together.
While there wasn’t any truly revolutionary new designs or lines I saw at opti 2024, there were a few products and brands that warrant a good look for your shop or practice. There are plenty of 3D-printed eyewear companies out there, but TPI seems to be leading the 3D printed eyewear market with very unique designs and colors. I was impressed with Skans Eyewear, the winner of this year’s opti Box award. Skans creates eyewear from recycled stainless steel, so the product has already had a life as another product before providing vision for its wearer. Ray-Ban is coming out with a Transitions frame that changes color or reveals a pattern in the sun later this spring. I was also impressed with the new designs from Laura Imami Eyewear of London.
I was very impressed with not only the opti trade show but the enthusiasm of those who attended opti this year. I believe that enthusiasm could very well portend a very good year for the international optical community.
opti is a show worth visiting. There is always something going on at opti without being overwhelming. Visiting opti gives the optical community a head start on the year. Mark your calendar and join The Optical Journal at opti 2025 in Munich from 31 January through 2 February 2025.