Thomas Truckenbrod, president of ZVA, the German association of ophthalmic opticians, reported at the Opti '11 trade fair that the German ophthalmic optics market had an increase in sales of about 3 percent last year. As market results are not complete this early in the year, the ZVA conducted a survey among its members in order to support its financial forecast. In it, 27.8 percent of all respondents said their sales were stable in 2010, 30 percent saw a sales increase and 41.2 percent had a decrease in sale. More than half, 57.7 percent, evaluate their current financial situation as satisfactory, about 20 percent said their financial situation was good and 22.7 percent reported their financial situation as unsatisfactory.

The expectations for the new business year are very positive, as 37.1 percent of the opticians count on an increase in sales, half of all respondents or 50 percent do not foresee any negative changes and only 12.4 percent expect a decrease in sales in 2011. In addition, 55.7 percent of the participating opticians estimate that their financial situation in 2011 will be stable, 22.7 percent expect an improvement of their financial situation and 21.6 percent forecast a change for the worse.

Future prospects for the market are very positive because of increasing demand for good vision at the workplace, when doing sports and while driving, says Truckenbrod.

Josef May, president of the German ophthalmic industry association, Spectaris, and managing director of the German office of Silhouette, supported the picture drawn by Truckenbrod from the ZVA. He stated that the 2010 business year was neither great nor bad for the industry in Germany. The final quarter of 2010 was not very satisfying, as the ophthalmic industry could not profit from the good Christmas trade that most German retailers enjoyed because very harsh weather conditions.

Nevertheless, the German ophthalmic industry recorded an increase in domestic sales of 2.5 percent in 2010 to €1.99 billion in total. Abroad, the industry was able to increase sales by 9.2 percent to €1.91 billion. Overall, the German industry's turnover grew by 5.7 percent to €3.9 billion in 2010. Exports made up 49 percent of the total, with 77 percent of exports going to European countries, 9 percent to Asia, 5 percent to North America, 3 percent to the Middle East and 1 percent each to the Australia and New Zealand region and the Central and South America region.

Based on a survey among the members of Spectaris, May also presented a forecast for 2011. The association expects an increase in domestic sales of 5 percent in 2011 and an increase in foreign turnover of 7 percent, for an overall increase of 6 percent. The association assumes that the industry will benefit from the good domestic economic situation in 2011, considering that, the industry is impacted by the general economy about one year later. Additionally, demographic trends should mean that the demand for glasses and contact lenses will be increasing over the next couple of years.

According to Spectaris, 39.2 million adults in Germany wear glasses and 2.7 million wear contact lenses. Accompanying the trend toward outdoor leisure activities, sports optics are seeing an increase in users. For example, 400,000 binoculars are sold each year in Germany in the upmarket segment.

The German market research company GfK noted in its latest consumer climate study that consumer sentiment continued its upward trend in January. While in December, buying patterns were down, in January people were more likely to make purchases, with this indicator at it highest level ? 41.8 points ? since December 2006. In December 2010, the indicator was 33.8 points; in January of last year, it was just 24.4 points.