Coronavirus BRIEFING
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The Latest COVID-19 Data

Increased COVID Cases Concern ECPs, While Capture Rates and Profits Are Up, Per Wave 16 of the Jobson Coronavirus Survey

By Staff
Thursday, October 22, 2020 12:27 AM NEW YORK—A noted rise in COVID-19 cases in their regions are a concern among the ECP respondents of Wave 16 of Jobson's Coronavirus Survey, conducted Oct. 16 through 20 by Jobson Research. At the same time, 30 percent of respondents reported their optical sales for this month were about the same compared to the prior year's October while another 27 percent said they were experiencing higher sales this month than last year. Thirty nine percent reported their profitability was on a par with last year at this time while 27 percent said their profitability was higher.

Consumers Prioritize Spending on Family, Friends Ahead of Holiday Season

By Staff
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 3:45 PM WASHINGTON—Purchasing gifts for friends and loved ones is a way for consumers to shift focus from the uncertainty and stress of the pandemic to celebrating the holidays and the promise of our return to a better tomorrow, according to a recent feature from the National Retail Federation. In total consumers plan to spend $997.79 on gifts, holiday items such as decorations and food, and additional "non-gift" purchases for themselves and their families, according to the annual survey recently released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“Consumers have demonstrated their resilience and adaptability throughout these extraordinary times,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Looking ahead to the holiday season, retailers will ensure that their stores are safe for both customers and employees as we all prepare to celebrate family and friends during this special time of the year.” 

While overall spending in these categories is down by about $50 from last year, nearly all ($45) of the decrease comes from consumers’ hesitation to use seasonal sales and promotions to buy other, non-gift purchases for themselves and their families. Even still, consumer spending on gifts is on par with last year, decreasing by only about $8, while per person spending on other holiday items like decorations is actually up slightly. 

Expected spending remains significantly higher than the 5-year average for both those categories. The holiday season is top of mind, with 42 percent saying they plan to start their holiday shopping by the end of October and another 41 percent will begin shopping in November. 

Click here to read the full story from the NRF.

Safilo Releases Business Update in Relation to COVID-19

By Staff
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 12:25 AM Safilo said—based on the business rebound recorded in July, its performance in August and preliminary data for the month of September—the group’s management expects total net sales (including acquisitions) for the third quarter 2020 to grow mid-single digit at constant exchange rates compared to the same quarter of the previous year.

Optical Sales Remain Flat Despite Uptick in COVID-19 Cases in Nearly All States

By Staff
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 12:24 AM NEW YORK—COVID-19 case counts trending upward throughout the U.S. had little impact on the eyecare business, according to the latest Jobson COVID-19 Performance Tracker for the week ending Oct. 18. Following a slight downturn during the previous week, Oct. 5 to 11, optical sales over this past week, Oct. 12 to 18, remained flat across the board, with the only negligible change occurring in contact lens sales, which declined only -1 index point nationally last week.

Agency’s Survey Uncovers What 2020 Has Revealed About Company Culture

By Staff
Friday, October 16, 2020 2:37 PM NEW YORK—It’s obvious that 2020 has been a year like no other, with a divisive election, civil unrest across the nation and a global coronavirus pandemic. With all of this unease, and with much of the workplace shifting to a work-from-home model, staffing agency CHG Healthcare surveyed more than 800 U.S. workers to see find out more about how all of this has impacted employees’ experiences and, perhaps, uncover trends that we can expect in the future.

What the survey found is that culture remains a very important aspect of a job, with 84 percent of women and 75 percent of men (79 percent overall) stating they have left a job due to a bad company culture. When it comes to defining company culture, employees identify the work environment (41 percent) and how people are treated (27 percent) as the top things that come to mind. Surprisingly, company “perks”’ came in last (.5 percent).

When asked about what actually contributes to a good company culture, workers identified the top five things as work environment, growth and development, access to leadership, transparent communication, and the meaningfulness of the job. While it may seem like an easy fix to invest money in onsite gyms, ping-pong tables, or free food, what workers really want is a place where they feel comfortable with their work environment and are treated with respect.

Who’s really in charge of culture?

While the human resource department may come to mind when talking about a successful culture, we found that a third (33 percent) of employees felt that managers are most responsible for cultivating a successful culture, with just over a quarter (27 percent) indicating that executives play the next biggest role.

Imports Set New Record as Retailers Replenish Inventories and Stock Up Early for the Holidays

By Staff
Thursday, October 15, 2020 3:48 PM WASHINGTON—Imports reached an all-time high this summer as retail sales bounced back from the pandemic and merchants replenished inventories and stocked up early for the holiday season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report recently released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“After staying at home this spring, consumers are buying again and retail supply chains are working overtime to keep up with demand,” NRF Vice president for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Nothing about this year is predictable, but retailers are making sure their shelves and warehouses are well-stocked for the holidays. They are also stocking up earlier than usual because they know many consumers will be shopping early this year to avoid crowds and shipping delays. Some holiday merchandise that normally wouldn’t arrive until Halloween is already here.”

U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 2.1 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units in August, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 9.7 percent from July and up 8 percent year-over-year. It was the highest number of containers imported in a single month since NRF began tracking imports in 2002, beating 2.04 million TEU seen in October 2018 ahead of a scheduled tariff increase. A TEU is one 20-foot-long cargo container or its equivalent.

September was estimated at 2.08 million TEU, a 10.9 percent year-over-year increase. September’s actual total won’t be known until next month but could become the second-highest month on record. October is forecast at 1.86 million TEU, down 1.1 percent year over year.

Click here to read the full story from the National Retail Federation.

Searching for Clues to COVID-19 Immunity

By Staff
Thursday, October 15, 2020 11:52 AM

Small Household Gatherings Driving COVID Increase

By Staff
Thursday, October 15, 2020 11:52 AM

The Great Invader: How COVID Attacks Every Organ

By Staff
Thursday, October 15, 2020 11:49 AM

National Optical Sales Experience a Slight Downturn as Virus Numbers Increase in 37 States, Per Jobson COVID-19 Performance Tracker

By Staff
Thursday, October 15, 2020 10:30 AM NEW YORK—National optical sales experienced a slight downturn across the board last week, according to the latest Jobson COVID-19 Performance Tracker for the week ending Oct. 11. As cases of COVID-19 increased in 37 states, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, optical sales decreased in all service/product categories on a national level for the most recent period monitored, Oct. 5 to 11. All categories were down -3 index points, except exams/refractions, which was down -2 index points. This follows two weeks during which optical sales on a national level remained primarily flat. Read More

Amazon Cashes in on Prime Day

By Staff
Wednesday, October 14, 2020 3:31 PM Amazon Prime Day kicked off on Tuesday. Since its inception in 2015, the event has turned into a 48-hour-long eommerce extravaganza. Just five years in existence, Prime Day has grown into a major shopping event, rivaling Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Prime shopping spree normally takes place in July, ahead of the autumn shopping events, but it was pushed out to October this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Day revenue has grown significantly over the years, but Amazon has also lengthened the shopping period from initially 24 hours in 2015 and 2016 to 48 hours in 2019 and 2020. This year, revenues of almost $10 billion are projected, according to eMarketer

Here is a short list of 10 cult-favorite products you can get on sale for Prime Day, courtesy of USA Today: Instant Pot Ultra 3-Quart 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker; Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer; Apple Airpods Pro; Dash Mini Waffle Maker; Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K; Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub; Waterpik WP-662 Water Flosser; Fitbit Versa 2; Echo Show 8; and Crest 3D Whitestrips. 

Click here
 to read the full story from Statista.com.

National Optical Sales Experience a Slight Downturn as Virus Numbers Increase in 37 States, Per Jobson COVID-19 Performance Tracker

By Staff
Wednesday, October 14, 2020 12:24 AM NEW YORK—National optical sales experienced a slight downturn across the board last week, according to the latest Jobson COVID-19 Performance Tracker for the week ending Oct. 11. As cases of COVID-19 increased in 37 states, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, optical sales decreased in all service/product categories on a national level for the most recent period monitored, Oct. 5 to 11.

Click here to view the complete Jobson COVID-19 Performance Tracker

Sharp Rise in U.S. Ecommerce Accelerates Online Shopping Shift by Nearly Two Years

By Staff
Tuesday, October 13, 2020 11:55 AM The pandemic has accelerated ecommerce growth in the U.S. this year, with online sales reaching a level not previously expected until 2022, according to a new analysis by eMarketer. They report that U.S. ecommerce sales will reach $794.50 billion this year, up 32.4 percent year-over-year. That’s a much higher growth rate than the 18.0 percent predicted in our Q2 forecast, as consumers continue to avoid stores and opt for online shopping amid the pandemic.

Are We Heading Toward a Baby Bust?

By Staff
Monday, October 12, 2020 5:25 PM Among the myriad effects of COVID-19 is potential impact on the birthrate. While it’s too soon to make solid predictions, new research indicates there could be a Baby Bust coming.

“There will be potentially 500,000 fewer babies as a result of COVID-19,” according to a June, 2020 Mintel survey, which also found that 14 percent of moms under 45 are rethinking having additional children because of COVID-19.

CooperVision Study Reveals Opportunities for ECPs to Discuss Spiraling Digital Device Usage and Digital Eye Strain

By Staff
Friday, October 9, 2020 11:44 AM SAN RAMON, Calif.—New consumer research from CooperVision reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased digital device use among Americans, and many are experiencing its effects on their eyes. The survey—conducted among nearly 2,500 adults in the United States—also shows significant opportunity for eyecare professionals (ECPs) to discuss digital eye strain with their patients.

The data supports CooperVision’s campaign aimed at educating consumers about the prevalence of digital device use and digital eye strain, which leverages free trial offers to help drive patients into nearby eyecare practices. The campaign kicked off with social media and display ads in August, and includes a partnership with digital lifestyle and technology influencer Jessica Naziri.

Extended screen time, already a trend heading into 2020, has become a way of life. Seventy percent of respondents ages 18-54 reported they spend more than half of their day looking at screens, while one in three people said more than 75 percent of their day is spent on digital devices.

In examining their screen time on specific devices since the start of the pandemic, 44 percent of all respondents reported increased use of their smartphones and 36 percent are spending more time on their computers. In addition, 38 percent reported watching more television over the last six months.

Naturally, this digital device use has had an impact on the eyes. Of those surveyed, 77 percent experience digital eye strain at some point during the day. The evening (41 percent) and late-night hours (32 percent) are the most common times of day to experience feelings of eye discomfort, tiredness and dryness from looking at screens.

“Through the years, advances in technology have led to ever-increasing rates of digital device use in society, and as eyecare professionals, we have seen the impact on eye health in our patients. The virtual work, education, and socialization forced on us by the pandemic seems to have accelerated these issues,” said Michele Andrews, OD, senior director of professional and academic affairs, North America, CooperVision.

She added, “The results of this survey validate that digital eye strain is widely experienced, and spotlight a real opportunity for eyecare professionals and their practices to help.”