Optical Business Barometer Ratings Remain Steady for May 2013

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NEW YORK—The Optical Business Barometer (OBB), a monthly gauge of general business attitudes among independent ECPs sourced by Jobson Research, remains at a 3.65 rating for May 2013. The rating marks no change from the overall rating for April 2013. When compared to the May 2012 rating of 3.54, May 2011 rating of 3.44 and May 2010 rating of 3.41, the current rating indicates a gradual increase for the May period since measurements for this study began.

The average overall optical ratings for the period of January through May 2013 stood at 3.73 this month, as compared to a 3.76 for the same period in 2012, showing a very slight decrease. The average shows an increase, however, from the 2011 rating for this period which stood at 3.62, and from the 2010 rating which stood at 3.57.


The overall optical retail business confidence rating among independent ECPs for the upcoming six months increased to 3.82 this month as compared to 3.67 in April. The May 2013 rating can be further compared to a 3.75 confidence rating in May of 2012, a 3.55 confidence rating in May of 2011 and a 3.69 rating in May of 2010.

Ratings for eyeglasses marginally increased this month to a 3.64 as compared to a 3.63 rating in April. Exam ratings decreased from 3.70 in April to 3.62 in May, and contact lens ratings decreased from 3.55 to 3.52.

The average scores for independent optical retailers’ ratings of eyeglasses, contact lenses and exams remained the same or close to ratings from the previous report. The average score for eyeglasses for the period January through May 2013 stood at 3.70, showing no change from the rating of the same period in May 2012. Ratings for the same period stood at 3.56 in 2011 and 3.51 in 2010.


The average score for contact lenses for the period January through May 2013 showed a marginal decrease to a 3.58 rating from a 3.59 rating in 2012, with the average for the same period standing at 3.48 in 2011 and 3.47 in 2010. The average rating for exams for the period January through May 2013 stood at 3.73 compared to a 3.74 for the same period in 2012. Exam ratings for this period stood at 3.62 in 2011 and 3.54 in 2010.

The overall optical rating for the census regions for the period January through May 2013 stood at 3.80 for the Northeast census region, 3.88 for the South census region, 3.65 for the Midwest region and 3.62 for the West region.

OBB ratings are further compared to findings from the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Survey. The latest survey findings revealed an increase in May 2013 to a 76.2 from a revised 69.0 in April. The Consumer Confidence Index reached its highest point in January 2000 with a rating of 144.7 and its lowest point in February 2009 with a rating of 25.3.

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The OBB is a monthly survey designed to gauge the optical business by studying a representative sample of independent optical retailers (single locations or groups of no more than three locations) and measuring the trends of eyecare professionals at these locations. 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 a full report complete with charted progress, visit www.jobsonresearch.com/obb.