During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jobson Optical Research is tracking national and regional optical business metrics for the U.S.


After two weeks of declining sales, the U.S. optical business experienced substantial growth over the past week ending July 12. This sales increase occurred across the board for all service/product categories and all census regions of the country. On a national level, gross revenue grew at a rate of 12 index points, bringing it to within only 8 index points of where it was in mid-March, when stay-at-home orders began and optical sales started to slide. This sales growth occurred simultaneous to coronavirus cases on the increase in most areas of the country except the Northeast. The strongest category remains contact lenses at 94 index points, within only 5 index points of where they were in mid-March. This is due to online sales, which has seen contact lens sales triple on average since mid-March, according to one ecommerce system provider.


Even as cases of COVID-19 surged throughout much of the country, all regions of the U.S. experienced increases in sales in all service/product categories. The optical business managed to increase sales at rates ranging from a low of 8 index points (for frame units in the Northeast and contact lenses in the West) to a high of 15 index points (for contact lenses in the Midwest). While the Northeast was the only one of the four census regions to not suffer substantial increases in coronavirus cases, it still lags in optical sales when compared with the rest of the country, likely due its being the hardest hit by the pandemic up until only recently. The impact on the optical business in other regions of the country as they experience increases in COVID cases is likely to be felt over the coming weeks.

*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.

Please note that practices that use practice analytic systems tend to skew a bit larger and have higher revenue than practices that do not.

Source: GPN/EDGEPro 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 thru May editions

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

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