Latest Business Barometer Index, Measuring Independents’ Attitudes Toward Business, Reflects Slight Decline

NEW YORK—The Jobson Research Optical Business Barometer (OBB) Index, which surveys attitudes among independent ECPs about the general business climate and their own businesses, reflected a dip in the October rating for independent optical retail, moving to a 3.4 from a 3.6 rating in September. The average rating from January through October 2012 stands at 3.7, a slight increase from the average across the same ten-month periods in 2011 and 2010, which stood at 3.6 and 3.5, respectively.


Confidence ratings for the upcoming six months among independent ECPs, for overall optical retail business remained consistent with the past two ratings in August and September at 3.7. The rating shows an increase from October 2011 and October 2010, which both stood at 3.5.

Independents’ business ratings for October have changed slightly compared to the prior months of this year. Attitudes of ECPs toward eyeglass sales decreased to 3.4 in October from a 3.5 in September, contact lenses decreased from 3.5 to 3.4, and the eye exam rating landed a 3.5 as compared to a 3.6 in September.


The period January through October showed average index scores for independents’ eyeglasses sales at 3.6, showing steady increase from the same periods 2011 and 2010 which stood at 3.5 and 3.4. The average index scores for contact lenses January through October 2012 also showed a slight increase, rating a 3.6 as compared to 3.5 and 3.4 in 2011 and 2010. The eye exams index for the same period remained at 3.7, showing consistent increase from a 3.6 in the same period 2011 and a 3.5 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 based on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is "very negative" and 5 is "very positive," with 3 representing "neutral."

OBB findings are further compared to the Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board. This month, the Consumer Confidence Survey showed an increase from a revised index of 68.4 in September to 72.2 in October. It is worth nothing that the index stood at 40.5 in October 2011, the lowest rating in the past year. The index increased to a high of 71.6 in February 2012 and has yielded varied ratings 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. For more information or to purchase a subscription to the Optical Business Barometer, please visit