News Briefs Archive

How Much Did the Vision Market Decline Last Year?

Jan. 20, 2021

The Vision Council has released its quarterly VisionWatch market research reports for Q3 of 2020, indicating a net increase of 1.2 million vision correction users year over year from September 2019 to September 2020 and $37.46 billion in retail revenues during the same period. Designed exclusively for the optical industry, the VisionWatch research reports are released on a quarterly basis and survey trends in consumer behavior regarding eye exams and eyewear, analyze developments in the U.S. eyecare market, and provide key market and product category statistics.

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Click HERE to download the Q3 2020 reports by visiting The Vision Council’s Research Download Center.

“As 2020 comes to a close, the results of the Q3 reports reflect the many challenges faced by the vision care market this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The vision care market generated $37.46 billion in retail revenues, representing a steep decline of 14.2 percent compared to the previous year,” said Steve Kodey, senior director of industry research at The Vision Council. “We are seeing some positive growth, however. After experiencing quarterly declines in frame unit sales earlier this year, for example, frame unit sales increased by 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the third quarter of 2019. This increase seems to reflect a change in consumer behavior as consumers were able to follow through with purchases that were postponed during the first and second quarter.”

Based on the results of the Q3 reports, The Vision Council estimates that independent eyecare providers, representing the largest segment of the vision care community, have experienced a 13.2 percent decline in sales since September 2019. Despite this decrease in independent eyecare provider revenues, the number of consumers making purchases after receiving an eye exam at an independent eyecare provider, also known as the capture rate, has increased by 5 percent since March 2020.

As internet sales and services continue to influence consumer purchasing habits, The Vision Council examines online sales trends in the optical industry. Below are a few notable online sales findings that occurred during the 12-month period ending September 2020:

  • About 12.9 percent of all eyeglass Rx lens and frame unit purchases occurred online during the 12-month ending period September 2020, which equates to 8.57 million pairs of eyeglasses.
  • Roughly 8.3 million pairs of plano sunglasses were sold over the internet during the 12-month ending period September 2020, which represents 10.4 percent of all plano sunglass sold during that period of time.
  • Additionally, the results of the Q3 reports indicate that the contact lens market was the only major optical market to experience revenue growth during the 12-month period ending September 2020, with sales up 1.1 percent to $4.42 billion, even after experiencing a slight decline in the overall number of users during the same 12-month period.

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