News Briefs Archive

How Are Consumers’ Online Eyewear Buying Habits Changing?

June 23, 2021

The Vision Council has released the Internet Influence Report. The special interest report examines the role of the internet among consumers who recently purchased different types of eyewear. The report was developed from responses of 4,909 U.S. adult consumers to a survey fielded in December 2020.

Here are a few highlights of the results:

  • More than 44 percent of adults who purchased eyeglasses used the internet to assist in their acquisition of prescription eyeglasses, up from 22 percent in 2017.
  • Nearly 30 percent of eyewear buyers used the internet to compare prices, to find the type or style of eyeglasses they wanted to buy, or to find the eyecare provider or retailer from which they purchased from in-person later.
  • Approximately 14 percent of adults used the internet to directly purchase eyewear in 2020.

All consumer groups embraced the internet to a greater extent in 2020 when buying eyewear, with men, younger adults, people from households with annual incomes over $60,000, and people who previously purchased eyewear from a conventional optical chain, the most likely to have used the internet when purchasing eyewear.

In addition to recording direct online purchases of eyeglasses, contact lenses, plano sunglasses and over-the-counter readers, the report explores the different “window shopping” functions that consumers conducted online before making a purchase in person at a physical brick and mortar retailer, including finding an eyecare provider or eyewear retailer, examining different styles of eyewear, and comparing prices. The report also examines different barriers that hinder people from buying eyewear online and includes data on anticipated future online eyewear buying activity. The report provides a trended comparison to previous research from 2017 and 2018, as well as demographic differences in answer patterns for 2020 online shoppers.

“Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Vision Council’s research indicated that U.S. eyewear consumers were migrating to the internet to make eyewear purchases. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have accelerated that movement,” said Steve Kodey, Senior Director of Industry Research at The Vision Council. “Even though some of the heightened online buying activity has cooled in early 2021 as consumers return to physical brick-and-mortar retailers for eyewear purchases, online sales of eyewear are still incredibly higher than pre-COVID times and we expect that level of buying to continue increasing over the next couple of years.”

>>Click HERE to download The Vision Council’s Internet Influence Report>>

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