Latest Consumer Barometer Shows Strong Gains in Total U.S. Vision Care Revenues for 12ME September 2012

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NEW YORK—Despite a somewhat anemic U.S. economy and sluggish job growth the vision care market continues to show signs of sustained growth. The total U.S. vision care market’s revenues increased 6.0 percent for the 12 months ending September 2012 to $34.5 billion compared to $32.5 billion in the prior year 12-month period, according to the newly released Q3 Consumer Barometer.

Not only did revenues for the total vision care market increase, but virtually all product market segments recorded gains with several sectors showing significant increases. The study, a top-line view of vision care services and eyeglass purchasing trends among consumers across the U.S. by VisionWatch, is conducted by The Vision Council.

According to the Barometer, dollar sales of frames, lenses, contact lenses, sunglasses, readers, exams and refractive surgery all showed positive growth for the 12 months ending September 2012 as compared to the same period year ago. A clear winner was the lens market, showing a robust increase of 9.0 percent for the 12 months ending September 2012. Sales from the lens market accounted for $10.4 billion of the total vision care market for the 12-month period.

The other product segment showing significant growth was the refractive surgery market which recorded a 12.9 percent increase for the 12 months ending September 2012 when compared to the year ago period. At the other end of the spectrum, eye exams recorded the least amount of growth with revenues increasing by 2.8 percent for the 12 months ending September 2012 compared to year ago.

Consumers’ future purchasing intent remained virtually the same or was down slightly in some cases, according to the Barometer. The number of adults planning to have an eye exam within the next three months came in at 20.1 percent, a slight increase over the 19.7 percent for the six months ending September 2011. When asked about the likelihood of buying a complete new pair of Rx eyeglasses within the next six months, 9.0 percent of respondents said they were extremely likely to purchase as compared to 9.2 percent for the six months ending September 2011.

The complete Q3 Consumer Barometer is available free of charge to members of the Vision Council by logging in and going to the Research Reports section of the website.