BUSINESS: Research + Stats Optical Business Barometer Declines for February 2014, but Outlook Rating Increases for Upcoming Six Months By Catherine Wolinski Tuesday, March 18, 2014 4:00 PM NEW YORK—According to the latest Jobson Optical Research Optical Business Barometer (OBB), a study measuring independent ECPs' attitudes toward current and future optical business, the overall optical business rating for February 2014 has dropped to 3.65 since the January rating of 3.70. The February 2014 rating also shows a decline from the February 2013 rating of 3.68, along with the February 2012 rating of 3.90. ECPs’ confidence rating, however, which measures their outlook of overall optical retail business for the upcoming six months, increased to 3.84 in February from a January rating of 3.73. The February 2014 confidence rating is higher than that of February 2013, which stood at 3.75, but lower than that of February 2012, which stood at 3.91. Ratings for eyeglasses, eye exams and contact lenses have also decreased from January to February 2014. The rating for eyeglasses decreased from a 3.66 rating in January to a 3.59 rating in February; the rating for exams decreased from a 3.76 rating to a 3.73 rating; and the rating for contact lenses decreased from 3.61 to 3.59. The February 2014 ratings for exams and contact lenses were higher than those ratings in February 2013, but for eyeglasses, the February 2014 rating fell below the rating from February 2013. Specifically, the February 2014 exam rating of 3.73 compares to 3.69 in February 2013 and 3.89 in February 2012; the February 2014 contact lens rating of 3.59 compares to 3.51 in February of 2013 and 3.67 in February of 2012; and the February 2014 eyeglass rating of 3.59 compares to 3.66 in February 2013 and 3.84 in February 2012. The year-to-date average ratings for January through February 2014 stood at 3.74 for exams (compared to 3.74 in 2013 and 3.85 in 2012); 3.62 for eyeglasses (compared to 3.73 in 2013 and 3.78 in 2012); and 3.60 for contact lenses (compared to 3.57 in 2013 and 3.64 in 2012). The overall optical business year-to-date average rating by census region stood at 3.90 for the South, 3.76 in the West, 3.53 in the Northeast and 3.52 in the Midwest. Jobson's OBB is further compared to the Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board. The Consumer Confidence Index declined in February to 78.1 from a revised 79.4 in January. 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. Click for larger image. The Optical Business Barometer is a monthly study of a representative sample of independent optical retailers (single locations and groups of no more than 3 locations) designed to gauge the optical business trends of eyecare professionals at independent optical locations and to provide independent optical retailers 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.