Latest Business Barometer Reflects Steady Attitude Among Independents

NEW YORK— According to the latest Optical Business Barometer (OBB) from Jobson Research, the business attitude among independent eyecare professionals has remained steady this month, with a July index rating of 3.7 as compared to a June index of the same rating. The rating also shows stability with July 2011’s index of 3.7, and marks a slight increase from the July 2010 index of 3.5.

For January through July 2012, the average rating for optical retail business remains at 3.7, as compared to averages of the same periods in 2011 and 2010 which stood at 3.6 and 3.5 respectively. The confidence rating for the upcoming six months decreased slightly to a 3.7 in July, as compared to a 3.8 rating in June. The July 2011 and July 2010 ratings stood at 3.7 and 3.6, respectively.

Ratings in the sectors of eyeglasses and contact lenses remain steady this month at 3.6, and the exams rating has increased to a 3.8 in July compared to 3.7 in June. For the period of January through July 2012, the average scores for eyeglasses and exams stands at 3.7, compared to 3.6 in 2011 and 3.5 in 2010 for the same period. Contact lenses stand at 3.6, steady with the June 2012 rating, and increasing from a 3.5 rating in 2011 and a 3.4 rating in 2010.

The OBB is a monthly survey of a representative sample of independent optical retailers (single locations or groups of no more than three locations) designed to gauge the trends of eyecare professionals at these locations. The survey is conducted online by Jobson Optical Research to measure attitudes of independent ECPs about the current business climate and outlook is based on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is “very negative” and 5 is “very positive,” with 3 representing “neutral.” Overall this month, optical business ratings for the West Census Region increased from 3.5 in June to 3.6 in July, the South Census Region decreased from a 3.9 to a 3.7, and the Midwest and Northeast Census Regions remained steady at 3.7 and 3.6.

OBB findings are further compared to the Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board. In July, the Consumer Confidence Index showed an increase from a revised 62.7 in June to 65.9 in July. It is worth nothing that the October 2011 index stood at 40.5 and the February index was 71.6, the high point for 2012. The index has shown a steady decline since that time. The highest index recorded was a 144.7 in January 2000, and the lowest index was a 25.3 in February 2009.

The OBB is sponsored by International Vision Expo. A full version of this article, including trending charts, is available here. For more information or to purchase a subscription to the Optical Business Barometer, please visit