Research History and Methodology

Research History and Methodology

VisionWatch History and Methodology

VisionWatch is the only large scale continuous consumer measurement exclusively designed for the eyewear and eyecare industry. VisionWatch was jointly developed by Jobson Publishing, LLC, a leading trade communications company in the optical products and services markets and NOP (National Opinion Poll) of London back in the year 2000.

VisionWatch is an ongoing study of a statistically balanced sample of 110,000+ US adult residents designed to be representative of the U.S. population 18 years of age and older. The structure of the sample is controlled to produce an un-weighted composition that is as close as possible to the desired final mix. Both demographic weights and psychographic weights are applied to assure that the final sample is statistically stable and representative. Each month, The Vision Council starts with an initial working sample of 10,500 American adults. We remove any disingenuous responses (i.e. people speeding through the survey, providing inconsistent data, etc.) and rebalance/reweight the sample to be representative of the US adult population with regard to age, gender, annual household income and region of residence (4 main US Census Bureau zones). We also run a series of edit and validation tests on any and all optical purchases to make sure consumers are providing us with accurate and reliable information about the eyewear they recently purchased.

Safeguards have been instituted to ensure that respondents participate in the survey only once in order to eliminate bias that could result from multiple session participation.

The sample is maintained and managed by Survey Sampling Inc. of Fairfield, CT, a company with more than 30 years of proven market research experience.

In January 2005, The Vision Council, in a major move to make the VisionWatch program more accessible to its members, entered into a joint venture with Jobson, LLC to produce and distribute VisionWatch. By purchasing the interest of Jobson's current partner, FSA Ltd., a British research firm, The Vision Council has joined with Jobson to create a single, central information source for consumer data that will compliment and solidify The Vision Council's current statistics program. FSA, providing analytic and product support, remained a vendor to the joint venture until December 2007. In January of 2010, The Vision Council assumed 100% control over the VisionWatch program and has been operating and evolving the tracking study ever since. In addition to evolving the program in the US, we are now striving to expand the program “overseas” as well, with Canadian, Brazilian and Asian VisionWatch programs all on the horizon.

The VisionWatch study has been in the field since October of 2000. Over the past fourteen years, VisionWatch has become the main benchmarking and business planning tool for leading retailers and manufacturers in the eyewear and eyecare industry. The data is used to produce both syndicated and custom research products.

The primary consumers of VisionWatch are the major retailers participating in the optical products and services markets, the major suppliers in those markets, the various associations in those markets and the financial community. Members of The Vision Council, in particular, receive top-line reports and in-person presentations on the frame, lens, contact lens, plano sunglass, OTC reader and vision correction markets at no charge as a member benefit. Detailed reports, which include data on market share at the product category, supplier and retail level, are available at a discounted fee to members of The Vision Council. Customized research, a unique feature of the VisionWatch program is also available at a discounted price for members.

By downloading any of the PDF file(s) you agree to the terms and conditions listed below:

  • The Vision Council owns and retains the copyright to all the information provided in the VisionWatch reports, both in part and as a whole.
  • The Subscriber may not reissue or sub-contract this report or data or interpretation of data from this report and may not accept any compensation either monetary or in the form of other considerations for communicating this report in part or in whole to any entity outside the legal and/or financial embodiment of the Subscriber.
  • The Subscriber may not use the Report(s) or data from the Report(s) for media advertising or public relations purposes without prior written approval of The Vision Council.
  • The Subscriber may not post the Report(s) or any data from the Report(s) on the Internet without prior written approval of The Vision Council.
  • The Subscriber may use the data for internal presentations (to include all appointed agencies) without prior written approval by The Vision Council. The Subscriber may also utilize VisionWatch data for presentations to clients and potential clients; however, the subscriber may not leave the data with clients or potential clients without written permission from The Vision Council. The Subscriber may not provide any other entity with such data that may be detrimental to Vision Council opportunities to sell such data to that entity or any other entity.
  • The Subscriber may quote data to the press without prior written approval provided the source of the data is attributed to VisionWatch and the Subscriber specifies full details of the time period, unit of measurement and all other relevant restrictions applied and does not release such data that would be detrimental to Vision Council opportunities to sell such data to any entity. Subsequent to any press release containing data from these reports, the Subscriber must provide The Vision Council with a copy of the press release.
  • The Vision Council will use all reasonable endeavors to assure accuracy of all reports and interpretation offered. However, no warranty as to the accuracy of the reports is given or implied. The Vision Council cannot be assigned any responsibility for losses incurred by the Subscriber in conjunction with the use of this report.

Methodology of ECP/Eyewear Retailer Reports

The Vision Council conducts in-house ECP studies three to five times a year in order to address pertinent issues or topics within the industry.  The majority of ECP surveys are on-going studies that are conducted on a yearly basis while some surveys are produced on a one-time basis to gauge special circumstances/situations in the industry. Depending on the subject matter and the needs of each specific report, we can interview anywhere from 50 to 800 ECPs or eyewear retailer locations. We generally survey ECPs and eyewear retailers on a wide variety of subjects. Some recent studies examined subjects such as: recent sales trends, buying group/IPA involvement, low vision products/services, Rx lens pricing, anticipated tradeshow behavior, adoption of—and opinions toward—new vision technology, equipment and software.

While most Vision Council ECP/eyewear retailer studies focus on the US at a national level, we have the capability to limit the research project to a specific subset of the US ECP/eyewear retailer community. This would include limiting the research to a specific region of the country (i.e. only practices located in California), a specific type of retailer or practice (i.e. just independent optometry practices, just multidisciplinary practices) or a specific audience of survey respondents (i.e. only those people involved in ordering and buying eyewear for a practice, only practices using practice management software, etc.).

An online survey tool is used to collect data for time and cost efficiencies for administration and respondents alike.  Questionnaires are developed by The Vision Council research personnel with input from The Vision Council staff and industry professionals.  The surveys are deployed using Vovici, an online survey hosting/programming company.

Once responses are collected, there are submissions that are disqualified or excluded from the final analysis due to variances in their responses including submission from people not associated with vision care, people that randomly answered questions, and duplicate submissions. Data is then formatted into topline that are unweighted counts and frequency percentages for all answers and questions.  A detailed cross tabulation is also developed to show the separate demographic and answer profiles for each question of the survey. Based on the specifications of the survey and the needs of report end users, the Vision Council will also analyze the results of various ECP surveys to create charts, detailed written summaries of results and findings, key note or executive summaries, trend comparisons to previous research, and suggested courses of action based on data findings.

The Vision Council also has a small retailer panel of 100 independent ECP practices that is used to collaborate data from other programs and collect information that is difficult to obtain from consumers and ECPs via traditional survey programs. We will often pull data from this small-scale eyewear retailer panel to help validate or support findings from other Vision Council research programs.

Methodology of Shipments Reports

Rx Lens and LPT Equipment (Edger) manufacturers report sales and shipments data in the US wholesale market to a neutral third party research firm, Industry Insights. Data is tabulated on a monthly basis and the reports are issued to participants.  These reports record wholesale shipments to retail and wholesale customers of the manufacturers. This anonymous and confidential program allows Vision Council member companies to accurately compare and benchmark their sales performance against similar competitors that operate in the same markets.

 Data in the Wholesale Lens Shipments program includes monthly shipments by material (glass, CR-39, polycarbonate, trivex), lens index, lens coating (photochromic and AR), lens style (SV, MF, PAL) and customer type (wholesale vs. retail). The wholesale lens shipments program also tracks shipment activity of polarized Rx lenses and finished/semi-finished SV lenses. The LPT Edger Shipments program includes monthly shipments totals of new edger units sold, as well as quarterly summations of new edger shipments sold to different market channels (independent ECPs, point-of-sale chains, and larger centralized lab processing facilities). There is also a 3 month short term forecasting program associated with the Vision Council LPT Edger Shipments program. The Vision Council is the only source for this information on wholesale market activity in the US market.

Methodology of IOTA Reports

The Vision Council’s report of government supplied data on the international movement of lenses, frames, plan sunglasses and contact lenses as reported by the Commerce Department and The Census Bureau. Import and export data is provided by lens/frame/sunglass material, specific country, as well as by continent and country block. Unit import and export data is provided, as well as a declared customs value dollar data. Reports are issued each quarter—about six weeks after the end of each specific calendar quarter. A key benefit of this report is that is it the only source of optical import / export information in the United States. There is also close to 12 years of report history available in case detailed time series trending and analysis is needed.

Methodology of DSO Program

Part of The Vision Council’s Credit Reporting Service is the Days Outstanding on the books report (DSO).  This is a monthly survey from Vision Council members that aims to measure the industry’s credit outstanding (in days) to costumers.  The report is an ideal gauge as to how effective your company’s collection system is as compared to the total industry. Access to the reports is only available to companies that participate and submit data each month.

Methodology of Shared Lab Stats Program

The Vision Council’s Shared Lab Stats program enables member optical laboratories to compare their monthly production statistics with the aggregate of all participating laboratory locations. Members submit data and retrieve reports through an automated third-party website. Monthly and historical reports are available to all participants who submitted data for a given month. Networks are able to access reports for individual locations as well as a combined report that compares their entire organization against the aggregate of the program for the month. Data include lenses by material, coating, and style; jobs per day; remote entry orders; breakage; and remakes.