The optical industry, which includes prescription glasses, plano sunglasses, over-the-counter readers, contact lenses and refractive surgery, experienced a growth of 3.9% for the 12-month period ending June 2013, amounting to $35.47 billion in revenue, according to a study conducted by the Vision Council and released by Vision Expo.
This increase in dollar sales is a combined result of U.S adults’ willingness to spend more on optical products, more U.S adults using vision correction and an increase in unit sales, the release said.
According to the Vision Council’s VisionWatch study results, the ophthalmic lens category grew by 6% in terms of dollars when compared to last year, while units sold only grew by 1.4%. The majority of the dollar growth in this sector came from consumers buying more expensive lenses and more consumers purchasing frames and lenses together, instead of frames alone in an attempt to save money.
Consumers spent approximately $4.1 billion on contact lenses, which represents a 5.9% increase when compared to 2012. Part of the reason for this growth is the small yet steady increase in people wearing contact lenses over the past few years, especially an increase in younger adults’ (ages 18 to 34) wearing contact lenses, as well as more male wearers, according to the release.
Dollars spent on surgery fell while exams grew. For example, refractive surgery decreased by 3% between June 2012 and June 2013, while exams saw a steady growth of 2% for the June 2013 period. This is slightly lower than the growth in 2012, which was about 3.2%. Dollars spent on exams has increased slightly due to a steady amount of U.S adults getting eye exams, the release said.
Plano sunglass sales grew by 4% to $3.61 billion in sales this year; units sold also saw an increase of about 2.5%, with an average sales price of $37.24, according to the release.
OTC readers saw a greater growth of 7.3%, representing $812.3 million in sales. Contrary to past trends, this indicates a price growth that leads to increases in dollar sales volume relative to unit sales volume. As such, the retail price for a pair of OTC readers increased by 4.7% to $17.28 per pair over the past year, the release said.
This year’s net growth of 3.9% compared to last year’s 6.2% indicates that although growth is slowing, it is still positive and healthy for the industry, according to the release.