April 2014 Optical Business Barometer Shows Slight Decrease Overall, Increase From Previous Years


NEW YORK—According to the Jobson Optical Research Optical Business Barometer (OBB) report, the overall optical business rating among independent ECPs fell slightly in April 2014 to a rating of 3.70, down from a March rating of 3.72. The April 2014 rating of 3.70 compares to an April 2013 rating of 3.65 and April 2012 rating of 3.67, showing an increase in ratings for the month of April from 2012. The April 2011 rating stood at 3.64 and the April 2010 rating stood at 3.60.

The confidence rating, measuring independents' outlook for overall optical retail business for the upcoming six months, remained steady in April 2014 at 3.81, even with March. The April 2014 rating of 3.81 further compares to previous ratings of 3.67 in April 2013, 3.79 in April 2012, 3.71 in April 2011 and 3.73 in April 2010.

April ratings in the categories of eyeglasses was up slightly while eye exams and contact lenses remained steady in comparison to 2013 ratings. The April 2014 eyeglass rating increased to 3.67 from 3.63 in 2013 and 2012; the exam rating stood at 3.70, the same as in 2013 and up from 3.58 in 2012; and the contact lens rating stood at 3.55, the same rating as in 2013 and up from the 3.53 rating in 2012.

Year-to-date average ratings for eyeglasses, eye exams and contact lenses all showed some decline in April 2014 compared to the same period in 2013 and 2012. Average eyeglass ratings for January through April 2014 stood 3.65 for eyeglasses, compared to 3.72 for the same period in 2013 and 3.75 in 2012. Average year-to-date ratings for exams stood at 3.74, compared to 3.75 for the same period in 2013 and 3.79 in 2012. Contact lens ratings for January through April 2014 stood at 3.58, compared to 3.59 for the same period in 2013 and 3.61 in 2012.

Regional scores depicting overall optical year-to-date average ratings by census region stood at 3.90 for the South, 3.66 for the West, 3.64 for the Midwest and 3.57 for the Northeast.

Jobson's OBB report is further compared to the Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board, which showed a slight decrease in April 2014 to 82.3 rating from a revised 83.9 rating in March. The high point of the Consumer Confidence Index occurred in January 2000 at 144.7 and the low point in February 2009 at 25.3.

The Optical Business Barometer is a monthly study of a representative sample of independent optical retailers (single locations and groups of no more than three locations) designed to gauge the optical business trends of eyecare professionals at these locations and to provide them with a comparative "how's business" benchmark. It is conducted online by Jobson Optical Research based on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is very negative, 3 is neutral and 5 is very positive.

For more information, visit jobsonresearch.com/obb or contact Jennifer Zupnick at (212) 274-7164 or jzupnick@jobson.com.