L&T takes the pulse of the spectacle lens market with our 2009 Premium Lens Study of Eyecare Practitioners. This annual, qualitative survey provides fresh feedback from eyecare practitioners about sales of the spectacle lens designs, materials and treatments they prescribe and dispense. The results of this exclusive study indicate which types of lens products are gaining in popularity among the 287 independent optical retailers across the country who we polled. This valuable benchmark data can help you gauge your own lens sales. The complete 2009 Premium Lens MarketPulse Study can be purchased online at www.jobsonresearch.com.
Compared to three years ago, 57 percent of retailers said that in 2008, spectacle lenses and treatments made up a larger percentage of their location’s total gross dollar sales. This is down from 74 percent in 2007. There was an increase in the number of retailers who said spectacle lenses and treatments made up a smaller percentage compared to three years ago, going from 5 percent in 2007 to 21 percent in 2008. Forty-two percent said that Rx sun lenses as a percentage of total dollar sales increased over three years ago.
When asked to rank lens design by popularity, single- vision was ranked number one by 66 percent of retailers. Progressive (including short corridor) was ranked number one by 29 percent. Fifty-eight percent of retailers said short corridor lenses made up a moderate percent (11 percent to 49 percent) of their total progressive lens pair sales.
Almost half (44 percent) of retailers said single-vision lenses made up a greater proportion of their total lens sales in 2008 than they had in 2007. Comparatively, 76 percent said progressive sales had increased over the last year, while 46 percent said sales of bifocals and trifocals had decreased as a percentage of total lens sales over the last year.
Forty-five percent of retailers said brand name is “very important” to them regarding their decision as to which lenses to carry. Also, 80 percent of retailers said quality is “extremely important” to them regarding their decision as to which lenses to carry.
Ninety-three percent of retailers said quality is “very” or “extremely important” to their patients regarding their decision as to which lenses to purchase. Fifty-two percent of retailers said price is extremely important to their patients in regard to their decision as to which lenses to purchase.
When asked about familiarity regarding new progressive lens technologies, 81 percent of respondents are aware of the term “freeform progressives.” 83 percent are aware of the term “digitally surfaced progressives” and only 45 percent are aware of the term “direct surfaced progressives.” Seventy -eight percent of respondents said they are “very satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with the personalized progressive lenses they dispense.
Seventy-three percent of retailers agree with the statement, “I promote the use of progressive lenses to all my presbyopic patients, including those who currently wear bifocals or trifocals.”
Computer vision sales have stayed about level, with 54 percent of retailers saying that their sales in this area have remained unchanged. Most retailers surveyed (70 percent) say computer/office lenses make up an insignificant percentage (10 percent or less) of their total lens pair sales.
When asked to rank lens material by popularity, standard plastic was ranked number one by about half (46 percent) of the retailers. Polycarbonate was ranked number one by 39 percent. Glass was ranked least popular by the most retailers (71 percent).
Fifty-five percent of retailers said that their 2008 polycarbonate lens sales increased as a proportion of total lens pair sales compared to 2007. Fiftysix percent said their sales of high-index lenses had grown since 2007 and 39 percent said Trivex sales had increased over the last year.
Fifty-nine percent said their mid-index lens sales had stayed flat. Glass was the worst performer, with 50 percent saying that glass made up a smaller proportion of their total lens sales in 2008 than in 2007.
When asked to rank high-index lenses based on popularity, 48 percent ranked 1.67 as most popular and 43 percent ranked 1.60 as most popular. Comparatively, 1.74 was ranked least popular by 61 percent of retailers.
An impressive 80 percent of retailers surveyed said they had experienced an increase in AR lens sales as a proportion of total lens sales in 2008 vs. 2007. Fifty-eight percent saw an increase in polarized lenses and 66 percent saw an increase in photochromic sales over the same period. For 45 percent of retailers surveyed, tinted lens sales stayed about the same versus the year before. Sixty-nine percent of retailers said they offer two different price points for AR lenses—one being standard, the other being premium.
Impact of Refractive Surgery
Fourteen percent of retailers agree that because of the increase in patients having refractive surgery their overall lens sales have decreased. Twenty-eight percent said specifically high-powered lens sales have decreased.
For some retailers (50 percent), reading glass unit sales stayed about the same in 2008 compared to 2007. Thirty-one percent of respondents experienced an increase in readers sales over this time period. Among those who sell readers, 25 percent said their OTC/ ready-made readers sales had increased in 2008. Custom-made readers sales were flat for half (56 percent) of respondents at locations that sell readers.
Forty-five percent of retailers said they do use lens-only package pricing. The average price of this lens-only package is $290.25.