How has the economy affected your contact lens practice? [ view all articles ]
Many practitioners are optimistic that the eyeglass and contact lens industry will recover from the recent economic storm. Did your practice feel its affects? Statistics show revenue notably declined in 2008 and 2009. But interestingly enough, those that monitor these trends state that despite the industry's lackluster performance during this time, revenue has grown at an average annual rate of 2.2% over the last five years, to $9.0 billion in 2010. So despite the downturn, how were we able to manage growth as an industry?
The stability of the industry has a lot to do with the product we are providing. The dependable need for vision correction is the most significant factor driving industry demand. This need-based demand, in addition to other various factors will continue to bolster sales and studies anticipate expected growth for years to come.
While this description is hopeful, many practitioners have yet to see its affect on their cash register. The truth of the matter is that though potential customers “need” these services, other challenges prevent them from making new purchases. Quite often patients already own the necessary corrective lenses, so sales largely depend on prescription changes and technological innovation before new purchases are made. This trend makes significant growth difficult for individual practices as well as manufacturers. As a result, competition among manufacturers, and from alternative retailers, is intense. IBISWorld.com expects competition to heighten in the next five years, as operators continue to consolidate to cut costs and gain market share.
Research conducted shows that approximately 70% of the United States population requires vision correction. What does that mean for you? There is still a large potential patient base. For 2011 and going forward, demand will be driven by the need to upgrade prescriptions and buy corrective lenses that had been put off during the downturn. The recovery will be slow, but there is hope that we will come out of this recession. Consumers will regain their purchasing power and when they do, they will be back in your office.