Latest Optical Business Barometer Reflects Gradual Climb in Ratings Among Independents

NEW YORK—Keeping in trend with recent months, the Optical Business Barometer (OBB) showed a slight increase this month for January 2013 ratings. The OBB, a monthly gauge of business attitudes among independent ECPs as sourced by Jobson Research showed an index of 3.8 for January as compared to a 3.7 index measured in December 2012. The rating for January 2013 matches that of January 2012, which also stood at 3.8.

The rating for January 2013 is higher than that of January 2011 and January 2010, which both stood at 3.6. In rating the confidence level for the upcoming six months, ECP attitudes produced an index of 3.8 in January 2013 as compared to a 3.7 in December 2012, showing a slight increase. Ratings for January 2012 also indexed at 3.8, rising slightly from the 3.7 rating reached in both January 2011 and 2010.

Independents’ January business ratings reflected a continued trend toward positive attitudes among ECPs regarding the specific areas of exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses. Both eyeglasses and exam ratings increased from 3.7 indexes in December to 3.8 ratings in January, and contact lenses remained at 3.6, as compared to 3.4 in November.

The average scores for exams over the past year ending in January 2013 rose to a 3.7, as compared to a 3.6 for the same period ending January 2012 and a 3.5 for the period ending January 2011. The average scores for eyeglasses over the past 12 months ending in January 2013 stood at 3.6, remaining steady with the ratings of the same period ending January 2012. For contact lenses, average scores for this period stood at 3.6, as compared to a 3.5 for the 12 months preceding January 2012. For the same period ending January 2013, the average overall optical ratings for the South Census region stood at 3.8, Northeast and Midwest Census regions stood at 3.7 and the West Census region stood at 3.6.

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 ratings are further compared to findings from the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Survey. The latest survey findings revealed a decrease from a revised index of 66.7 in December 2012 to a 58.6 in January. It is worth noting that the highest results from the Consumer Confidence Index occurred in January 2000 with a rating of 144.7, and the lowest in February 2009 with an index of 25.3.


The OBB is sponsored by International Vision Expo. For more information or to purchase a subscription to the Optical Business Barometer, please visit