Optical Business Barometer Rises in December 2013

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NEW YORK—According to the Jobson Optical Research Optical Business Barometer, the overall optical business rating for December 2013 has risen to 3.65, comparing to a November 2013 rating for 3.58. The latest rating, however, shows decrease from the December rating from 2012, which stood at 3.74, along with the December 2011 rating of 3.79. The December rating in 2010 stood at 3.59.

The average of overall optical ratings for the period of January through December 2013 stood at 3.67, showing slight decrease from the average of the same period in 2012, which stood at 3.69. The average for this period in 2011 stood at 3.60 and in 2010 stood at 3.49.

The confidence rating, measuring ECPs’ outlook of overall optical retail business for the upcoming six months, also decreased from a 3.75 rating in November 2013 to a 3.70 rating December. The December 2013 rating also shows decrease from the December rating for 2012, which stood at 3.73, and the December rating for 2011, which stood at 3.79. The December 2013 confidence rating is, however, higher than the December 2010 confidence rating which stood at 3.63.


Despite decreased confidence for the next 6 months, the latest report did show increase in ratings for eyeglasses and exams for December. The December 2013 eyeglasses rating increased to 3.62 from 3.57 in November, and the rating for exams increased to 3.73 from 3.69. The rating for contact lenses, however, decreased from 3.53 in November to 3.50 in December.

The average of eyeglass ratings for the period January through December 2013 remained at 3.63, even with the average rating for the same period in 2012, and showed increase from the same periods in 2011 and 2010, which stood at 3.54 and 3.43, respectively.

The average rating for contact lenses in the period January through December 2013 decreased very slightly, showing a 3.54 rating compared to a 3.55 rating in 2012, and showed increase from the periods in 2011 and 2010, which stood at 3.49 and 3.39, respectively.




For exams, the average rating for the period January through December 2013 stood even with the average rating for the period in 2012, which stood at 3.70, and showing increase from the 2011 rating of 3.63 and the 2010 rating of 3.49.

The overall optical rating by census region for the period of January through December 2013 stood at 3.69 for the Northeast, 3.80 for the South, 3.63 for the Midwest and 3.58 for the West census region.

Jobson's OBB is further compared to the Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board, for which the December 2013 rating rebounded to a 78.1 from a revised 72.0 in November. The Consumer Confidence Index reached its highest point in January 2000 with a rating of 144.7 and its lowest point in February 2009 at 25.3.


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The Optical Business Barometer is 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. 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). It is conducted on-line by Jobson Optical Research and is designed to take the temperature of the independent optical business. The OBB is 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 jzupnick@jobson.com.