In the second ECPulse survey of 2023, the optimism that eye care professionals reported in 1Q 2023 has tempered a bit. Earlier this year, 51% said that they expected their 2023 business results would be up from 2022. By the June survey conducted by Jobson Optical Research, that was down to 44%. At the same time, the percentage who expected to be down in 2023 compared to 2022 jumped to 27%, up from 19% in 1Q.
In all, 64% of respondents said that they are on track with their 2023 goals at this time, and 10% said they are ahead of their goals. The remaining 27% said they were not on track with their goals.
In each of the five quarters that ECPulse has been asking if eye care professional have raised fees, more than 70% have said they have – either across the board or in certain areas. In 2023, the percentages have crept toward 80% and higher.
However, in each of the five quarters, those who increased their exams fees hovered in 47% to 55% range. In this 2Q survey, that jumped to 79%. At the same time, those who increased their lenses prices saw the biggest decrease – with those percentages ranging between 74% to 84%, with a drop to just 48% choosing to increase their prices at in 2Q.
Throughout, a majority of respondents have said they have not cut costs – with 56% in 2Q 2023 saying they have not done so. Among those who did, however, the three biggest jumps in decreased spending are in giveaways to patients for items such as cleaning clothes and cases (48%); marketing (29%) and staff salaries (22%).
INFLATION WORRIES SHOW SLIGHT DECLINE
For the past four quarters, the survey has asked whether eye care professionals have noticed their patients trying to save money due to inflation. While a significant majority (78%) reported that they do see that concern in their patients’ buying habits, this is the first time that number has dropped below 80% since the question was added.
The most common areas where patients are trying to save is in frames (93%) and spectacle lenses (72%), followed by contact lenses at 52%. Respondents also noted that on average, the June 2023 average capture rate was 60%, lower than the March 2023 average capture rate of 66%.
However, a majority (60%) said that the current state of the economy has impacted their practice locations only slightly. Thirty percent said they’ve been impacted heavily and six percent said they have not been impacted.
In a reflection of the aging U.S. population, respondents said that more than half of their patients are above age 45.
Respondents reported continued growth over 2022 same quarters.
The results from previous ECPulse surveys has also stayed fairly level. In 2Q, 32% of respondents said more patients are using their managed vision benefits than before, but 42% said they were not seeing an increase and 26% were unsure.
Eye care professionals said that they anticipate that dry eye services and specialty lens sales boosting optical revenue are the primary avenues for growth. See the two tables below to see what ODs have already done this year toward growth goals – and what they’re still planning.
Download the report here.
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