ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Today, The Vision Council released a new report examining the differences in U.S. consumers’ eyecare journeys. The 2023 first quarter Consumer inSights report found several key differences in how generations utilize optical care and exercise purchasing power within the optical industry. “While certain eye trends span every demographic, today’s report is critical in helping us better understand consumer trends from a cross-generational perspective,” said Alysse Henkel, senior director of Market Research and Analytics at The Vision Council.

“This data will allow our industry to engage key target audiences and encourage individuals to prioritize their eye health—from emphasizing the importance of annual exams to highlighting the need for sunglasses at all ages,” Henkel said.

This report marks the first time The Vision Council’s quarterly report on consumer-reported survey data has explored demographic data examining comparative trends. Key findings from the report showed that while Gen X consumers have the highest rate of managed vision care coverage, they were also least likely to undergo annual exams.

Comparatively, Gen Z had the lowest rates of enrollment in managed vision care coverage, and the Silent Generation is most likely to have annual exams.

According to a spokesperson for The Vision Council, “The Consumer inSights reports are quarterly summaries of consumer survey data. These reports contain consumer-reported data about their eyewear and eyecare purchase and spending habits, and do not contain market estimates.

“Market inSights reports contain market estimates of the optical industry. These reports contain modeled data based on a variety of data sources, including anonymized patient transaction data, card spending transaction data, location lists of eyewear and eyecare practices, and consumer survey data,” the spokesperson said.

Additional report highlights include:

  • More than one in three consumers without managed vision care have gone more than two years without an exam.

  • Consumers continue to prefer in-person shopping experiences. In the last three months, more than four out of five eyewear purchases were made in-person and only one in four frames purchases were made online.

  • Year-over-year purchases of daily contact lens supplies have slightly shifted from Q1 of 2022, with daily supplies down 5 percent as weekly contact lens supplies have increased this quarter.

  • Consumers were most likely to purchase reading glasses at a big box store or a dollar store.

  • Just over 25 percent of consumers who regularly wear plano sunglasses reported recently purchasing a pair, with practically no differences across household income brackets.

Source: The Vision Council's 2023 Q1 Consumer inSights Report
 Source: The Vision Council's 2023 Q1 Consumer inSights Report

The full report is 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.

The Vision Council’s inSights Research Program launched in May 2022 and is built on a foundation of rigorous methodology and cutting-edge technology. The inSights Research Program provides a comprehensive perspective on the state of the optical industry through quarterly consumer survey reports; quarterly in-depth special reports on eyewear and eyecare products and topics; and an end-of-year market estimate and industry forecast.