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

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NEW YORK—According to the Jobson Optical Research Optical Business Barometer (OBB) report, the overall optical business rating among independent ECPs rose in March 2014 to a rating of 3.72 from a February rating of 3.65. The March 2014 rating of 3.72 compares to a March 2013 rating of 3.84 and March 2012 rating of 3.90, showing a small decline in ratings for the month of March since 2012.

The confidence rating, measuring independents’ outlook for overall optical retail business for the upcoming six months, decreased in March 2014 to a 3.81 from a February confidence rating of 3.84.

March ratings in the categories of eyeglasses, eye exams and contact lenses also showed decrease in comparison to previous years; the eyeglass rating decreased to 3.68 from 3.79 in 2013 and 3.80 in 2012; the exam rating decreased to 3.77 from 3.82 in 2013 and 3.89 in 2012; and the contact lens rating decreased to 3.55 from 3.67 in 2013 and 3.63 in 2012.

Year-to-date average ratings for eyeglasses, eye exams and contact lenses also showed decline in March 2014 compared to the same period in 2013 and 2012. Average ratings for January through March 2014 stood at 3.64 for eyeglasses, compared to 3.75 for the same period in 2013 and 3.79 in 2012; at 3.75 for exams, compared to 3.77 for the same period in 2013 and 3.86 in 2012; and at 3.58 for contact lenses, compared to 3.61 for the same period in 2013 and 3.63 in 2012.

Regional scores depicting overall optical year-to-date average ratings by census region stood at 3.91 for the South, 3.71 for the West, 3.59 for the Midwest and 3.54 for the Northeast.

Jobson's OBB report is further compared to the Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board, which showed increase in March 2014 to a 82.3 rating from a revised 78.3 rating in February.

VM’s full report of the March 2014 Optical Business Barometer is available on VisionMonday.com. For more information, contact Jennifer Zupnick at 212-274-7164 or jzupnick@jobson.com.