Wholesale Sunglasses: The Secret Niche

What if I told you there’s a secret niche out there for wholesale importing? If you’re expecting some sort of unknown product you would be surprised.

Sunglasses probably aren’t what comes to mind if someone were to tell you they are one of the most lucrative wholesale items around, but wholesale sunglasses are one of the most lucrative and financially rewarding wholesale items around today. This is due to several reasons which we’ll explore in this article.

To first understand why sunglasses are a great wholesale item to start in we have to look at the most overpopulated dropshipping niches as well as the items most commonly sold on small online stores. A quick search online reveals that basic essential products, clothing, glassware, cosmetics, and cellphone accessories are extremely choices for wholesale due to the supply of these items far outweighing the demand. As a result, the profit margins are low due to over competition and declining customer interest.

Sunglasses are a constantly growing industry with many different styles, types, and variations around. Most people don’t realize that sunglasses are in demand by people worldwide constantly. Sunglasses are not only a practical item that isn’t tough to sell but also a fashion accessory due to all the variations and styles present. Wholesale sunglasses are low cost, high-value items that present amazing profit margins, additionally, these items are great for beginners to wholesale buying as they don’t require as many extra steps as someone purchasing electronics would go through.

Some common styles and variations of sunglasses include:

⦁ Sports Sunglasses, are specially designed for various sports in order to protect the wearer’s eyes, often these are built with durability in mind over appearance as they serve as eye protection from dirt, pebbles, and other harmful particles. Some examples of sports sunglasses include ski goggles and cycling sunglasses. These items are seen absolutely essential by both amateur and professional cyclists and skiers therefore they make for a great pick for a wholesale buyer.

⦁ Polarized Sunglasses, Polarization is a process used to make materials such as sunglasses glare resistant. They’re often well-liked by tourists and people in warm, sunny climates as well as professionals that do a lot of outdoor work or driving as they can protect their eyes and be able to work without glare being a constraint. This is another great pick for someone looking to buy wholesale sunglasses as they’re also often seen as essential due to their UV resistant qualities.

⦁ Fashion Sunglasses, no list of sunglasses would be complete without fashion sunglasses. Aviators, browlines, tea shades, wraparounds, wayfarers the list of iconic fashion sunglasses goes on and on. Despite sunglasses no longer being considered the luxury item they once were, fashion sunglasses still occupy the largest category of sunglasses. Fashion fans worldwide love these styles of sunglasses and oftentimes these customers will buy several styles as they’re seen as a valuable accessory.

How do I get started?

You’ve decided to get into wholesale sunglasses, but where do you go from here? Luckily for the prospective buyer, there’s plenty of great suppliers and sites to source sunglasses from. Chinese suppliers offer some of the lowest, if not the lowest wholesale prices on the market today. This is largely due to China’s massive manufacturing output and industry because there are so many factories and workshops around they can afford to produce items in large quantities and sell them at low costs.

There’s a large number of wholesale suppliers for sunglasses both small and large. The majority of these are located in the Yiwu International Trade City, commonly known as Yiwu Market in the city of Yiwu. This city is renowned for its huge amount of suppliers that carry a variety of goods and products. This is one of the best starting points to look at when searching for a reputable wholesale sunglasses supplier. One thing to keep in mind is that most of these suppliers require large minimum orders of at least 600 units. Therefore this may not be the best place for newcomers that are starting off small, however, it is an excellent choice for experienced wholesale buyers and those looking to buy in bulk. As Yiwu is a big trade city you’ll easily find a variety of sunglasses styles and designs. Additionally, most wholesalers will be able to assist with adding your branding or logos to your products. One consideration to take into account is sometimes these wholesalers buy their products from other parts of China or bring them to Yiwu so this may increase the cost slightly as a result of transportation and logistics costs.

Another great city to look into for wholesale sunglasses suppliers in Shenzhen, though this city is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of China and most known for their great electronics wholesale markets they’re also a big business hub for other wholesale markets including sunglasses. One advantage of going here for wholesale suppliers is the fact the minimum order requirements are drastically lower than that of Yiwu. With proper searching, you can even find suppliers that will do minimum orders as low as 10 units, for new wholesale importers that don’t have a lot of money to invest into their business yet this is a great choice. One of the most reputable places to look into here is the Shenzhen Henggang Glasses City, which is a market that specializes in sunglasses and eyeglasses.

For those that can’t travel to China, there’s still plenty of ways to source products. Plenty of the suppliers in cities such as Shenzhen and Yuwi also maintain a presence online on wholesale sites such as Alibaba and DHGate.

However, you’re unlikely to find the original manufacturer or factory that makes the product on these sites, as a result, you may pay more than a wholesaler that can negotiate an agreement in person. This is largely due to the fact that these manufacturing companies sell their products to large trade companies who then sell the wares in bulk on sites like AliExpress, DHGate, Globalsource, etc. One way to get around this problem is by finding a well-reviewed and rated sourcing agent. Sourcing agents specialize in facilitating agreements between importers and the factories, these agents oftentimes are more effective at finding a supplier as there’s no language barrier and they have experience in dealing with the factories, manufacturers, and local businesses. A sourcing agent will also get rid of any guesswork you might face when searching through large online marketplaces and e-commerce sites for a supplier that can meet your requirements. This is especially important if you’re planning on buying a large number of products as the last thing any business wants is to invest a lot of money into a product that turns out different than the listing they looked at.

I want to find the manufacturer, not a wholesale seller!

Some people prefer to do business with the manufacturers directly instead of relying on a wholesale seller or sourcing agent to help them. While this may be slightly more difficult it’s not impossible. Currently, most sunglasses manufacturing occurs in three parts of China.

1. Shenzhen, despite its reputation as an electronics and technology hub Shenzhen is also home to numerous glasses factories. These factories mainly produce very high-quality prescription eyeglasses and reading glasses with only a portion producing sunglasses, their sunglasses however are also produced to a very high-quality standard which makes these great for those looking to buy a brand they can market as a luxury/high-end item. Purchasing here is a great idea if you’re looking for premium workmanship and quality control. Prices may be higher than other cities as a result of this focus on quality control. This city is great for those looking to buy in bulk while the next two might be better off for new wholesale sunglasses importers who aren’t wanting to order as many units.

2. Wenzhou, this city is home to some of the largest glasses producers in the world. Most of these factories produce lenses and frames, again the majority of the larger factories produce regular eyewear and glasses with only the smaller factories specializing in sunglasses. These factories tend to favor metal frames over plastic which results in more expensive products. Most of Yiwu’s sunglasses come from factories in this area. Generally speaking, the price here will be lower than Shenzhen’s but higher than Taizhou’s.

3. Taizhou, saving the biggest for last. While the other two specialize in regular glasses and only produce sunglasses in smaller factories, this city happens to be one of the largest producers of sunglasses in specific with only a few factories working on regular glasses. The majority of products here use plastic frames unlike Wenzhou, therefore if you’re looking for metal frames Wenzhou might be a better option unless you’re willing to look around until you find a factory that fulfills this requirement. Over three-quarters of the sunglasses produced here are exported so you know you’ll be getting relatively good products with decent quality control standards. Should you require a product that is marketed for a luxury niche you may be better off going with Shenzhen as their quality standards are extremely high.

When looking to do business with the manufacturers directly it may be a good idea to hire an agent or translator in case of a language barrier. It’s important to know these factories generally sell to large local companies who then process the sales at China’s large retail and online markets, as a result, it may be difficult to facilitate an agreement without someone that understands the language ready to assist.

Lastly, should you want to try another method of finding a wholesale sunglasses supplier you can check out the optical fairs China hosts throughout the year. These showcase the latest eyewear products coming out of China and are often an excellent choice for buyers looking for specialty styles of premium quality sunglasses. Again a sourcing agent or translator may be a good idea here as not everyone will be able to speak English fluently.

Some of these fairs and expos include:

⦁ Wenzhou International Optics Fair, it only makes sense that the city with some of the largest glasses producers is the host of an International Optics Fair. As a sunglasses importer, you’ll encounter sunglasses suppliers here but it is important to remember that the majority of suppliers here will be for regular eyewear as this is what Wenzhou is well known for.

⦁ Hong Kong International Optical Fair is a good place to look should you be interested in finding high quality, premium eyewear, and sunglasses. Many of the companies here will have inventories produced in Shenzhen so you can expect some impressive workmanship.

⦁ Guangzhou International Optics Fair, located extremely close to Shenzhen this is also an excellent place to look for those wholesale importers that are looking at premium quality works.

I’ve found a wholesale supplier now what?

Congratulations! Now that you’ve found a wholesale sunglasses supplier you can move on to finalizing shipping and logistics agreements. There are some things to consider before proceeding, however. One of the most important things to think about is whether or not the sunglasses you’re buying are considered a medical product by the country you’re importing them into. Should they be considered a medical product you’ll have to get the right certifications and documents, this can require testing of the product by a regulatory agency. As these vary from country to country your supplier will usually not be able to assist in this area. The best solution here is to enlist the help of your sourcing agent should you have hired one to help you with the importing process. Sourcing agents should be familiar with the process required to import most items including sunglasses. This will ensure a smooth transition from the supplier to the destination country and no issues with customs clearance and shipping. If you don’t have a sourcing agent you can find freight forwarders in the country you are importing the sunglasses into, freight forwarders are also trained to assist with these processes and can save a lot of time and money for you.

Each country requires different certificates and standards for sunglasses so it’s vital you do your research beforehand to avoid any unpleasant surprises or holdups when importing. Some of the more common ones are listed below:

⦁ United States requires FDA certification and a Drop Ball test. FDA certification is generally easy to obtain but may require an agent’s assistance should you be located outside the United States. This certification does require an annual registration fee which is something to consider when budgeting for everything. The Drop Ball test is a relatively straightforward impact resistance test for which you can easily find information online. This test is required for FDA certification and also for each shipment as a form of quality assurance.

⦁ European Union requires EN ISO 12312-1 certification, information on this form of certification may be found online on iso.org

⦁ Russia requires GOST certification, services assisting in obtaining this certification are readily available online and you may have an office locally that can also assist.

⦁ Germany, TÜV SÜD certification marks the quality, safety, and sustainability of an item. It is required in addition to EN ISO 12312-1 certification

⦁ Australia, AS/NZS 1067:2003 certification, more information about this type can be found online with agents available to assist in obtaining it.

Other Considerations

Another important aspect of eyewear including sunglasses is the packaging it arrives in. Factories only produce the sunglasses not the cases for them and wholesalers will often only provide basic plastic wrapping for the product. Therefore you’ll also have to consider your options for the packaging, often this will mean looking for a secondary supplier to fulfill these needs. The previously mentioned cities should all have at least some wholesale vendors for carrying cases that will be happy to assist, again a sourcing agent may also be able to point you in the right direction in order to get you the best value for your money.

Carrying cases generally come in two styles a pouch-style that’s light but not overly protective and a more traditional hinged case, these are generally made out of a durable material such as plastic or metal while pouches are cloth and leather. The niche you’re marketing your products can impact which style you might want to consider. Someone buying high-quality sunglasses that are marketed as a luxury item might want to consider a high-quality pouch made from a premium material. Likewise, someone else who is importing lots of polarized sunglasses marketed for truck drivers might want to find a supplier that can provide strong and durable cases.

Be sure to research the packaging as well when importing wholesale sunglasses as customers will often associate the value of a product with the packaging it is in. It’s tough to market the high-quality sunglasses you imported from Shenzhen as a premium product when you’re using the factory packaging it arrived in. This is also a good opportunity to put your brand or logo on another item so make sure you find a wholesale supplier that can accommodate these requests.

Like with any importing work it’s important to avoid bad suppliers as this can lead to long shipping times, lack of after-sale support, and poor workmanship. Some easy ways to differentiate between reliable suppliers with ones to avoid include.

⦁ Product images, poor quality products often use an obvious stock image that never shows what the product looks like, wholesale suppliers that value their buyers will provide clear, high resolution and REAL pictures and videos to showcase their products. These suppliers have pride in their products and value their reputation so they’ll take every opportunity they can get to show you their products.

⦁ Product descriptions, while this won’t apply unless you’re buying online product descriptions often indicate whether or not the supplier is a good source for wholesale importing. Take note of whether or not the product has a clear, easy to read the description. Again good suppliers place pride in their products so they tend to have very good descriptions whereas unreliable suppliers won’t care as much and will often use a translation program to create their product descriptions.

⦁ Shipping Options, take note of the shipping options a wholesale supplier uses. If they only use economical, low-cost shipping there is a good chance they’re doing it to try and increase profit margins. This type of shipping can result in extra long wait times, shipments lost during transit, and not enough tracking information. If a wholesale supplier offers other shipping options it’s a good idea to arrange for the best option offered. Standard and Premium shipping rates tend to be more secure and reliable, these packages also ship faster which makes importing much easier for you. Keep in mind international shipping takes time so the last thing you want is to prolong it even further. This could be disastrous if you are running a retail store and customers are waiting for the best selling item to arrive.


This article should hopefully assist you with understanding the concepts involved in importing and purchasing wholesale sunglasses better. Like any importing, it’s important to do your research thoroughly before committing to any agreements. Make sure you know your target demographic before looking for a wholesale supplier. If you’re not sure if a supplier is the right pick for you to ask questions, the majority of suppliers will be eager to help you. Sourcing agents may seem like an unneeded investment but sometimes hiring one can net savings by getting you discounts you might have not had access to yourself and finding suppliers you might not have been able to find yourself so this is a good consideration.

Should you decide to get involved with wholesale sunglasses you’ll no doubt find it a rewarding and lucrative market with tons of space to expand your business in.

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