Article

CLINICAL: CONTACT LENSES

THE ECONOMICS OF CONVENIENCE

DAILY DISPOSABLE CONTACT LENSES SEE POSITIVE TRENDS

DAILY DISPOSABLE contact lenses are poised to take over a larger percentage of the contact lens market this year. In fact, about 57% of practitioners indicated they anticipate fitting more daily disposable contact lenses in 2017, reports Contact Lens Spectrum’s January article, “Contact Lenses 2016.” (See more data in “By the Numbers.”)

Why is this, you ask? It comes down to economics.

GROWTH IN DAILY DISPOSABLES
YEAR DAILY DISPOSABLE PERCENTAGE OF CONTACT LENS BUSINESS
2010: 37%
2011: 45%
2012: 51%
2013: 58%
2014: 63%
2015: 70%
2016: 73%
2017 (so far): 75%
Information courtesy of Dr. Jason Miller, Eyecare Professionals of Powell

CONVENIENCE ADDS VALUE

When looking at historical business trends and consumer decision making, convenience is something many people pay extra for every day. The rise of services, such as Instacart, is an example of this.

Another example: airport parking. Most airport parking cost is higher the closer you get to the airport. The average consumer must decide in a moment whether the added convenience of being closer to the airport is worth the extra cost. In my experience, the closest lots are the fullest!

In applying this decision-making process to the contact lens market, daily disposables offer a more convenient way of wearing contact lenses by eliminating the need to clean the lens, while providing the potential to improve comfort and visual outcomes at distance and near.

In my experience, patients are willing to pay for convenience. Daily disposable contact lenses are the largest and fastest growing segment of my contact lens business. Our percentage of daily disposable business has grown to 73% in 2016, from 70% in 2015, with the entire office focused on prescribing this modality. (See chart.)

By the Numbers

Contact Lens Spectrum (CLS) (both OM and CLS are published by PentaVision) collected data on daily disposable contact lenses, both nationally and internationally in its January issue. The articles were comprised of the magazine’s own survey data, which was compared with that of other research on the market. See the full articles at bit.ly/2oCtF3I and bit.ly/2oCgJeh . Some highlights:

  • Two of four surveys listed, CLS’s and ABB Optical Group’s, in “Contact Lenses 2016” reveal that daily disposable contact lenses already lead prescribing in soft contact lenses at 31% and 38%, respectively.
  • All the surveys, ABB Optical, in addition to GfK Retail & Technology and Glimpse Live, showed percentage of daily disposable contact lens sales increasing from 2015 to 2016 by 5%, 13.7% and 13%, respectively.
  • Daily disposable contact lenses make up more than half of all soft lenses prescribed in 10 countries, reports “International Contact Lens Prescribing in 2016.”

INDUSTRY GROWS PRODUCT CATEGORY

Additionally, there are a variety of daily disposable contact lens options on the market, and many more scheduled for launch.

Product innovation is yet another driving force in consumer choice amongst a given product category. For example, look at the demand for the newest generation of smart phones, which can be seen in the number of people who line up to purchase new releases of the iPhone.

In eye care, as market research investigates consumers’ decision making, it would be interesting to see exactly how much extra consumers are willing to pay for contact lenses. Where do they perceive is the highest value with regard to defining comfort, visual clarity and overall wearing experience?

Glossary

Economics can be defined a few different ways: “the study of how people use resources, or the study of decision-making.” Furthermore, it is “a much broader discipline that helps us understand historical trends, interpret today’s headlines and make predictions for coming decades,” according to the American Economic Association.

PATIENTS WANT IT ALL

Daily disposable contact lenses are seeing many positive economic trends. The great thing about this industry is a majority of patients place a high value on vision and want it all: clear vision, comfort and convenience. OM