Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses Consumer Study

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Last year, a major research company conducted a consumer survey on eyeglasses and contact lenses and I would like to share some of the more interesting highlights with you and suggestions on the opportunities these finding offer to  optical retailers. There are some new demographic segments that you might like to know about also as these terms will be used a lot from now on in many areas of business and consumer analysis. I am including this because it is even more important now to target marketing to specific demographics. Your marketing dollars will be more effective, targeted to specific groups than generic markets.

Generation X, most of us are now familiar with this term but can you define it? It is the generation born between 1965 and 1976 so this year they are aged between 33 and 44.

Echo Boomers, also known as Generation Y, born between 1977 and 1994 which means right now they are aged between 15 and 32.

Matrix Generation or Post-Millennials born from 1994 to present, currently 14 or younger.

Optical Consumer Study Findings and Opportunities:

1. Finding: Style and Fashion play a large role in how under-45’s view eyeglasses and they often view them as a fashion accessory. Opportunity: Promote multiple select, fashion frame purchases with free lenses at least once a year.

2. Finding: Less than half of the consumers using eye-wear correction have vision care insurance. Opportunity: Overtly offer generous discounts for non-insured.

3. Finding: Women in all age groups use corrective lenses more than men despite there being no physiological reason for this difference. Young women are very interested in colored contact lenses but are not that informed about their availability. Young men are more reluctant to use contact lenses as they are less comfortable with taking them in and out. Opportunity: Separate promotions and advertising to address these different segments, concentrate on these segments one at a time rather than doing generic promotions. Consider asking your male patients if they are interested in trying contact lenses as well as eye glasses risk free and offer unlimited “fitting and training” visits until they become comfortable with them.

4. Finding: The average woman owns over 10 pairs of reading glasses, which indicates the Boomers are transforming reading glasses from a necessary evil to a fashion accessory. Most of the market growth comes from this category. Opportunity: Embrace readers and offer stylish, high quality readers that are promoted as an additional purchase to prescription lenses, not a replacement.

Source: SPS Associates, Mintel