ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council, the leading trade association for the optical industry, has announced the release of two new reports offering a comprehensive view of the optical industry for the first quarter of 2024. The Market inSights Q1 2024 and Consumer inSights Q1 2024 reports feature market data and analysis estimating the performance of the optical industry, and highlight consumer behavior related to managed vision care, eye exams, eyeglasses, frames, lenses, contact lenses, readers and plano sunglasses, according to the announcement.

“The Vision Council’s latest research, based on transaction data and survey responses, indicates that industry growth in the first quarter of 2024 is slightly stronger than forecasted,” said Alysse Henkel, vice president of data and inSights at The Vision Council. “Consumers are returning to their usual seasonal habits, like buying prescription products at the start of the year, likely due to available managed vision care benefits or FSA/HSA funds. This increased spending and the higher number of exams conducted this past quarter have led to an improvement in the annual total market value forecast, shifting from an anticipated 0.33 percent decline to a 0.68 percent increase.”

Consumer survey findings show increased in-person purchases for eyewear and contact lenses in Q1, with overall eyewear and contact lens purchases reaching their highest rate in the past two years. The online purchase rate for glasses dropped to 14 percent after holding steady at 16 percent through all of 2023.

Additional Q1 survey findings include the following:

  • The contact lens market continues its growth to a value of $3.14 billion. Within the last year, 78 percent of contact lens users made a purchase.

  • More than 20 million pairs of lenses were sold. Approximately 42 percent of respondents reported paying $99 or less out-of-pocket for their glasses, lenses or frames.

  • More than 17 million pairs of frames were sold. Of those who made a recent purchase, 86 percent said they bought in-person while 14 percent said they bought their eyewear online.

  • Nearly 30 million patients received a comprehensive eye exam. Approximately 79 percent of respondents use a form of vision correction—including glasses, prescription sunglasses, reading glasses and contact lenses.

  • The market value of plano sunglasses exceeded $3.6 billion. More than half (58 percent) of respondents wear plano sunglasses.

  • Consumers purchased more than 51 million pairs of readers. Those with a recent purchase were likely to buy more than one pair, and 52 percent reported purchasing multiple pairs in their last purchase.

The Vision Council’s Consumer inSights Q1 2024 findings are the result of a survey of 12,063 adults in the U.S. aged 18 or older in the first quarter of 2024. Respondents are representative of the U.S. adult population. The survey included questions about vision correction, managed vision care, eye exams, prescription eyewear, reading glasses and plano sunglasses.

The full reports are available in The Vision Council’s research download center as a complimentary download for members of The Vision Council, with a paid option for non-members to download.