The Optical Business Barometer (OBB), a monthly survey designed to gauge business attitudes among independent eye care professionals in the U.S., showed an increase in March 2015 to 3.84 from a February 2015 rating of 3.81. March ratings stood at 3.72 for 2014 and 3.84 for 2013.
In February 2015, the overall optical business rating for February 2015 had decreased slightly to 3.81 from a January 2015 rating of 3.88. February ratings stood at 3.65 for 2014 and 3.68 in 2013.
The March scores for eyeglasses, exams and contact lenses all showed increases from the previous year. For eyeglasses, the March rating rose to 3.78, as compared to 3.68 in March 2014. It further compares to a March rating of 3.79 in 2013. The rating for exams rose from 3.77 in 2014 to 3.91 in 2015, and further compares to 3.82 in March 2013. For contact lenses, the March 2015 rating rose to 3.67 as compared to 3.55 in 2014 and 3.68 in 2013.
The February 2015 monthly scores for eyeglasses, exams and contact lenses also showed increases from the previous year. The rating for eyeglasses rose to 3.78 compared with 3.59 in 2014. It further compares to a February rating of 3.66 in 2013. For exams, the rating rose to 3.81 as compared to February ratings of 3.73 in 2014 and 3.69 in 2013. The February 2015 rating for contact lenses rose to 3.65, as compared to 3.59 in 2014 and 3.51 in 2013.
The barometer's data are based on a monthly online survey of a representative sample of independent optical retailers in the U.S., conducted by Jobson Optical Research. Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is very negative, 3 is neutral and 5 is very positive.
Jobson's OBB ratings are also compared with findings from the U.S. Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Survey, the monthly survey conducted by Nielsen. Its latest findings showed an increase in March 2015 to 101.3 from a revised 98.8 in February 2015, which further compares to a revised 103.8 in January 2015. The high point for the Consumer Confidence Index came in January of 2000, with a rating of 144.7.