Vision Markets Continue Growth in 2017

Total revenue generated by the vision care industry during the year ending in the second quarter of 2017 grew to $40.16 billion – an increase of 0.2% compared to same period in 2016 and up by 21.3% over 12ME June 2008 retail sales totals—before the recession set in. The number of adults using vision correction increased to 191.7 million, an increase of close to 2.8 million from June 2016. That represents a moderate uptick in overall vision correction usage on top of the population increase over the last year.

There were approximately 114.9 million adult eye exams, both comprehensive and refraction, conducted in the US during this period, up 0.8% from the number of exams conducted in the previous year. The actual total dollar value of those exams increased by 1%.

During the most recent year, eyeglass frames were up 0.1% and lens revenue were down 1.5% from year-ago levels with mostly flat unit sales and flat retail prices (especially for the lens market where prices are actually declining slightly, a reversal of fortune from 2010-2015 when Rx lens prices were soaring at the retail level). We estimate that about 4.3% of all eyeglass lenses and frames purchased in the US during the 12 month ending period June 2017, were purchased online over the Internet—about 3.22 million pairs.

During the 24 month ending period June 2017 the strongest optical market was contact lenses, up 8.5% to $4.90 billion. Contact lens sales increased most among all major markets mostly due to an increase in contact lens usage among the US adult population resulting in 1.3 million new additional contact lens users. As the most established online optical market in the US, nearly 40.6% of online optical sales came from the sales of contact lenses this 12 month ending period.

Over-the-counter reader usage remained relatively stable up to the second quarter of 2017, with just over 12.6% of the population reporting wearing them. Though the smallest online optical market, over-the-counter readers represent a portion of the online market. Nearly $29 million worth of over-the-counter readers were sold online during the 12 month ending period of June 2017, about 2.3 million pairs of readers.

During the 24 month ending period of June 2017, plano sunglass sales increased by 5.2% or about $4.21 billion. In the last year, the US added almost 1.4 million new/additional sunglass users over the past year. The demographics that contributed to this increase are: women, people over the age of 55 years old, people from higher-income households and people from the Southeast region of the US.

The recent increase in eyeglass usage can be traced to the decline in LASIK / refractive surgery procedures recently. In the 24 month ending period of June 2017, LASIK surgery was down 6.2%.

Data in this article was compiled from VisionWatch, the large scale continuous research study conducted by The Vision Council. VisionWatch contains useful industry data on lenses, frames, sunglasses, reading glasses, contact lenses, eye exams and refractive surgery. For additional information, please contact Steve Kodey at (703) 740-1095.

Total Market Annual Growth by Segment, dollar values 12 month ending June 2017.

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