Sunglass Wars: Blenders Eyewear vs Shady Rays

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For the past month, I have been tracking Blenders Eyewear and Shady Rays. Here are my findings:

Shady Rays has had more orders than Blenders in the past month even though it is estimated the Blenders has higher website traffic. Both companies have very similar price points, which leads to Shady Rays generating more revenue than Blenders for the past month.

Blenders Eyewear was started in 2011 in San Diego. Their sunglasses are a little more modern looking and they have wrapped their brand around the beach and surfing. Shady Rays was started in 2012 in Kentucky. Their sunglasses have a more traditional look and they have wrapped their brand around being outdoors (hiking, biking, boating, etc).

Blenders Eyewear for their life has had over 1 million more orders than Shady Rays. And Blenders by far has the larger social presence:

In the past 7 days @blenderseyewear has been tagged on Instagram 801 times, @shadyrays only 218 times. Blenders has twice the engagement rate that Shady Rays has (even though both has a relatively small engagement rate).

Blenders Eyewear’s audience is split 50/50 Male to Female. Shady Rays is 70/30 Male to Female. Both have the majority of their audience in their 20s, however, Shady Ray’s audience skews slightly older than Blenders.

Blenders has made an effort on TikTok by creating organic content on the platform. However, they have just over 2,000 followers there. Shady Rays has an account with 600 followers but they have not made any organic content for the platform. 

Advertising

Here are the top 5 paid search keywords for both brands:

It is interesting that Blenders ads mainly target their brand name while Shady Rays has non-brand keywords in their top 5. It is also clear Shady Rays is making a push with their blue light glasses.

On Facebook/Instagram Blenders has approximately 1600 ads running, and Shady Rays has 120. In July, Blenders launched 206 new ads to Shady Rays 36.

See Blenders’ ads

See Shady Rays’ ads 

It is impossible for me to tell what these companies’ total ad spend is. Both appear to be close to $100M yearly revenue run rate and to support that they both are probably spending close to $20M-$30M in total yearly advertising spend (if they want to stay profitable). 

Influencers

Both brands do leverage influencer partnerships. 

Recently Blenders Eyewear partnered with @butterybros to create content. Buttery Bros have 199K followers on Instagram. Here is a quick audit of their account:

Their engagement rate of 3% is not great but it’s not bad either. If Blenders was doing just a straight promotion with these guys and not creating content with them, I would be concerned about the low US following and the high Non-follower likes (the majority of their likes are not coming from their own audience).

Blenders also recently has done promotions with @demibagby. She is a fitness influencer with 2.4M followers on Instagram and 13.8M followers on TikTok. Here is a quick audit of her Instagram account:

Demi has a very low US following. I have seen influencers that have a large TikTok presence have a lower US following. Also her audience does skew a little young which is no surprise as she built her audience mainly from TikTok. Blenders does more with her than just a one-off promotion (Swipe up event, etc) so there is value in having her in their content. However, if they were looking for her to promote on her Instagram and drive sales, I would be concerned about what the true volume of users she could drive.

On June 26th, I got an email from Shady Rays with the subject line “Meet Olympic Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez!”. @lauriehernandez has 1.4M followers on Instagram. Here is a quick audit of her account:

I find Laurie an interesting choice for Shady Rays to partner with. We already know Shady Rays’ audience skews a little to the older side (Laurie has a younger audience), and we know they have 70% male audience (Laurie has a 81% female audience). This could be an attempt by Shady Rays to expand into a younger female audience but I am not 100% certain she a natural fit for the brand (she is a gymnast which is done indoors, no need for sunglasses indoors).

Shady Rays also partnered with WWE star Roman Reigns. @romanreigns has 4.8M followers on Instagram. Here is a quick audit of his account:

What is Shady Rays doing? Roman Reigns only has 17% of his audience in the United States. His top country is India with 36%. Like Laurie, he is an indoor athlete. 

Shady Rays has just missed the mark with their influencers. It is no knock on the people they partnered with but they do not fit the brand. Blenders did a much better job of finding people that fit their brand.

Email Marketing

In the past month, Shady Rays sent me 24 emails. The majority of them promoting a discount (30% off, $20 off, etc). Blenders Eyewear only sent me 9 emails. Their emails were not as much discount-based, they were new releases, back in stock, first access, etc. 

Email marketing is usually the number 1 channel for most of these brands to drive a sale. I have seen brands that send more emails, typically generate more revenue. It does feel spammy or like you are bothering your list to send them a ton of emails, but appears that you will bring in more sales the more emails you send (now I would like to see some content in these emails rather than just sale sale sale).

Who is winning the war?

For the past month, Shady Rays has been winning the Sunglasses war. Signup for the newsletter below to get future updates on the war between Shady Rays and Blenders!

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