NEW YORK—The latest Optical Business Barometer (OBB) report from Jobson Optical Research showed that year-ending 2017 ratings had a strong finish ahead of 2016 in almost every business category. When comparing 2016 with 2017 quarter by quarter, the results showed that Q1 2017 ratings came in below Q1 2016, while Q2 and Q3 of 2017 were slightly ahead when standing up against 2016’s results and Q4 of 2017 finished well ahead of Q4 2016. Also, in 2017 the Q4 ratings generally exceeded the Q3 2017 ratings with the exception of the Contact Lenses category.

In every year previously measured by the OBB, the Q1 ratings for a given annual period have exceeded the previous Q4 ratings. If this trend continues, a strong Q1 for 2018 is predicted. Additionally, when surveying independents about their businesses, 21 percent said they lost a week or more of business days due to hurricanes or fires while only 8 percent said their business was affected by hurricanes or fires.

When asked about the new income tax, 38 percent think the proposed new income tax legislation will affect consumer spending and 37 percent think the proposed new income tax legislation will affect their business. When gauged about technology, 4 percent use digital eye exam apps designed for use by an optical professional and 14 percent are unaware there are digital eye exams/vision screenings that patients can perform without direct supervision of an eyecare professional.

The Optical Business Barometer (OBB) is designed to gauge the optical business trends of eyecare professionals at independent optical locations and to provide independent optical retailers with a comparative "how's business" benchmark. It’s a study of a representative sample of independent optical retailers (single locations and groups of no more than three locations). OBB is conducted online by Jobson Optical Research and is designed to take the temperature of the independent optical business.

For more information or to purchase the complete Optical Business Barometer report with more data and trends on the independent ECP business, contact Jennifer Waller at Jobson Research.