During the COVID-19 pandemic, many eye care practices across the country have temporarily shut down and business has dropped off. Jobson Optical Research is tracking optical business metrics for the U.S. to determine the trajectory of the downturn, monitor its duration, and uncover which regions first begin heading in a positive direction.


Product Sales Up Nationally
With three weeks of growth, optical business across the country has begun to trend upward. All optical product/service categories being tracked throughout the United States have been inching upward over the past month (except contact lenses) with the largest increase occurring last week, when comparing metrics from April 27-May 3 with the previous week of April 20-April 26:
• Gross Revenue was up 7 index points, following previous increases of 2 index points and 1 index point during the previous two periods.
• Exams/Refractions were up 8 index points, following previous increases of 2 index points and 1 index point during the previous two periods.
• Frame Units were also up 8 index points, following previous increases of 2 index points during the previous two periods.
• Lens Pairs were up 7 index points, following previous increases of 3 index points and 2 index points during the previous two periods.
• Contact Lenses, which have been following their own trajectory, were up 2 index points, following declines of only 1 index point during the previous two periods.

With at least 42 states easing stay-at-home measures to some degree this week, the number of respondents in the latest Coronavirus ECP Survey by Jobson Optical Research in a locality currently under stay-at-home measures dropped about 9 percent (from 90.8 percent to 81.7 percent). More ECPs are starting to reschedule appointments sooner, with nearly 5 percent shifting from rescheduling in June to rescheduling in May, bringing the number of respondents rescheduling for May to 66.9 percent. Seeing patients in-office for regular exams jumped from 10.4 percent to 27.7 percent of respondents. Get the latest survey here


Regionally, most of the country (the South, Midwest, and West) experienced growth similar to the country as a whole, while the Northeast also experienced increases in product/service categories but to a lesser extent of only 2 index points for Gross Revenue, Exams/Refractions, and Frames Units, and 3 index points for Lens Pairs. (Contact lenses again followed their own direction with an increase of 6 index points in the South and 3 index points in the West, a decrease of 1 index point in the Northeast, and remaining flat at 34 index points in the Midwest.)

The Strongest Regional Gains Were:
The South with double-digit index increases of Gross Revenue and Exams/Refractions up 10 index points, Lens Pairs up 11 index points, Frame Units up 12 index points

The West with increases of Gross Revenue, Exams Refractions and Lens Pairs up 7 index points and Frame Units up 6 index points

The Midwest with increases of 6 index points in Gross Revenue, Exams/Refractions, Frame Units, and Lens Pairs

* The index baseline was developed by Jobson Research from total sales from an average seven days in the first quarter of 2019. This index baseline is equivalent to a score of 100. All other time periods going forward are calculated as a percent increase or decrease from the 100 baseline index of that period. This index is intended to show directional and magnitudinal change that the market is experiencing. Actual index scores are arbitrary meaning the baseline of 100 is simply used as a benchmark. Jobson Research shall not be held liable for any use or misuse of the data described and/or contained herein.

Source: GPN and ABB Analyze contributed anonymous sales data used to determine gross revenue, exams/refractions, frame units, lens pairs, and contact lens boxes. Data was collected from approximately 3,500 independent eye care practices.



Consumer Sentiments

* Percentage of Rx eyewear users that are planning to postpone or cancel their Rx eyewear purchase until conditions are better. "If you need new eyeglasses or contact lenses while COVID-19 is still a threat, which of the following actions are you likely to take?"
** Selected answer option 8, 9 or 10 for the question "On a scale of 1-10 (were 1 = No concern at all and 10 = Extremely concerned) how concerned are you over the recent global COVID-19 threat and outbreak?"

Source: The Vision Council VisionWatch COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Study: February and March editions

For additional information, you may reach out to GPN, ABB Analyze, and The Vision Council directly.

For more information from Jobson Research contact jwaller@jobson.com.