Latest Consumer Barometer Shows Gains in Total U.S. Vision Care Revenues, Purchasing Intent for 12ME September 2011

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NEW YORK—Despite continued record high unemployment and sustained volatility in the stock market, the vision care market is showing signs of growth. The total U.S. vision care market’s revenues increased 2.2 percent for the 12 months ending September 2011 to $32.5 billion compared to $31.8 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 most product market segments saw gains as well. A top-line view of vision care services and eyeglass purchasing trends among consumers across the U.S. by VisionWatch, the study 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 2011 as compared to the same period year ago. The clear winner was the contact lens market, showing a healthy increase of 5.3 percent for the 12 months ending September 2011. At the other end of the spectrum, refractive surgery recorded the least amount of growth with revenues increasing by only 0.7 percent for the 12 months ending September 2011 compared to year ago.

Consumers’ future purchasing intent were another bright spot in the Barometer. When asked about the likelihood of buying a complete new pair of RX eyeglasses within the next six months, 9.2 percent of respondents said they were extremely likely to purchase as compared to 8.4 percent for the six months ending September 2010. The number of adults planning to have an eye exam within the next three months came in at 19.7 percent, a slight increase over the three months ending September 2010. The complete Q3 Consumer Barometer is available from the The Vision Council.