By Linda Conlin, ABOC, NCLEC

As we look forward to 2023, it may be difficult to predict the mindset of eyewear consumers. According to a recent article in Forbes, How Will Consumer Behavior Change In 2023?, “2023 will be a jumble of mixed signals, reflecting a unique environment characterized by opposing forces: exuberance as the pandemic wanes, tempered by caution in the face of economic turbulence. In a nutshell, don’t expect consumers to be shy about spending in 2023. But expect them to be far pickier — seeking out fewer, richer experiences that blend the digital fluidity of the pandemic with the familiarity and intimacy of the times that came before.”

Forbes’ prediction crosses age group demographics, but it’s important to note that the Millennial population (born between 1981 and 1996), now surpasses that of Baby Boomers. Millennials spend a considerable amount of time on digital devices, and many are verging on presbyopia. To capture that market, we need to know what Millennials look for in product and retail experiences. They are buying products as a way of expressing their passions and interests. Among those passions and interests are sustainability, authenticity, and corporate social responsibility. Although careful with their money, Millennials will spend when they think the purchase is worth the money and will heavily research quality goods. The group is loyal to companies that treat them like people, not numbers, and that interact with them and solve problems. For ECPs, that translates into maximum value for a quality product and exceptional service with a personal connection. 

When it comes to sustainability and environmental responsibility, research by IBM found that 77% of consumers across all age demographics consider those brand values to be important. They want to know where the product came from, and that the manufacturer has sustainable and ethical practices, including for their workers, resulting in brand loyalty. Studies also have shown that about one-third of consumers who want to buy from brands that have ethical practices are willing to pay more for those products.

In summary, the 2023 eyewear patient not only wants to see better and look better, they want a personal experience that makes them feel better by building a relationship based on trust. And they want to know that their purchases are environmentally and socially conscious. The best part is that ECPs can offer all of that through the personal touch, products, and education already available!