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Optical Sales Across the U.S. Bounce Back to Pre-Labor Day Holiday Levels, Per Jobson COVID-19 Practice Performance Tracker

By Staff
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 12:30 AM NEW YORK—Nationally, optical sales returned to their levels prior to the Labor Day Holiday during the most recent week for which metrics have been tracked (Sept. 14 – Sept. 20). Following substantial decreases resulting from the Labor Day holiday for the previous week tracked (Sept. 7 – Sept. 13), overall optical sales in all categories bounced back to where they had been on a national level during the week of Aug. 31 to Sept. 6. Regionally, although all four Census regions being monitored (Northeast, Midwest, West, South) had states reporting increases in cases of COVID-19 (according to the CDC COVID Data Tracker),  this had little to no impact on optical sales, according to the tracker. With every state in the West and nearly every state in the Midwest and South reporting increasing numbers of cases of COVID-19 over the past week, optical sales returned to the same level or within at least 1 or 2 index points of where they had been during the week prior to the Labor Day weekend.

Jobson Tracker: National ECP Revenues and Category Indexes Decline Nationwide

By Staff
Monday, September 21, 2020 10:00 AM NEW YORK—For the third week in a row, optical sales experienced a decline on the national level. This past week’s substantial decreases in optical sales can be attributed to the Labor Day holiday, which was the first day of the most recent week for which metrics were tracked (Sept. 7-Sept. 13). All service/product categories were down by index points in the mid-teens, ranging from minus 14 index points for contact lenses to minus 17 index points for frame units and lens pairs. Overall ECP gross revenues and overall eye exams/refractions declined 16 index points, This follows declines of index points of only the single digits for the past couple of weeks. Read More

PPE: Top Questions, Concerns & Insights from Your Peers

By Staff
Sunday, September 20, 2020 12:41 PM We were expecting 2020 to be the year highlighting our essential role in primary healthcare. Instead, it quickly became the year of COVID-19. The pandemic still leaves many questions, including how best to incorporate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) into our practices moving forward.

Survey Finds that High-End Consumers Have Made Biggest Reductions in Spending

By Staff
Friday, September 18, 2020 2:10 PM NEW YORK—The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and economic recession has taken its toll on consumer spending across the board, but it appears that upper-income consumers have reduced their spending more than other income groups, according to a recent analysis by eMarketer.

Still, there’s a mix of commonality and difference in the ways various income groups have responded to this weird set of circumstances, the firm noted.

“While people with low incomes have taken the hardest financial hit, upper-income consumers have made the deepest spending cuts,” Mark Dolliver, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, noted in a recent post by the research firm. (Dolliver also is author of the firm’s recent report, “Gauging Consumers Across Income Brackets.”
 
“After all, upper-income consumers are typically the biggest spenders and have the most spending available for cuts,” he said.

Opportunity Insights (a Harvard-based research project) said two-thirds of the total decline in credit card spending for January through May “had come from households in the top 25 percent of the income distribution,” according to the eMarketer report.

Primed by stimulus payments, spending by low-income consumers had recovered (temporarily, anyway) from its March–April plunge and was 1.1 percent higher in late August than it had been in January. Spending by upper-income consumers also recovered some lost ground but was still 7.5 percent below its January level, while spending by middle-income households was down 1.9 percent.

The Most Likely Ways to Contract COVID-19

By Staff
Friday, September 18, 2020 1:02 PM Six months in, we know quite a bit more about COVID-19 than we did when the world screeched to a halt back in March, including the virus' most likely modes of transportation. Head over to Elemental, from Medium, to learn some of the new information we have, and how to keep yourself as safe as possible moving into fall and winter.

Fauci: Plan to 'Hunker Down' for Fall and Winter

By Staff
Friday, September 18, 2020 1:01 PM We need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter because it’s not going to be easy.

National ECP Revenues and Category Indexes Decline in the U.S., Per Jobson COVID-19 Tracker

By Staff
Friday, September 18, 2020 11:30 AM NEW YORK—For the third week in a row, optical sales experienced a decline on the national level. This past week’s substantial decreases in optical sales can be attributed to the Labor Day holiday, which was the first day of the most recent week for which metrics were tracked (Sept. 7-Sept. 13). All service/product categories were down by index points in the mid-teens, ranging from minus 14 index points for contact lenses to minus 17 index points for frame units and lens pairs. Overall ECP gross revenues and overall eye exams/refractions declined 16 index points, This follows declines of index points of only the single digits for the past couple of weeks. Read More

Consumers Anticipate New Ways to Celebrate Halloween, Despite COVID-19

By Staff
Thursday, September 17, 2020 2:57 PM WASHINGTON—Like many holidays this year, Americans are planning to celebrate Halloween despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The autumnal holiday may look a little different this year, but consumers are finding ways to safely mark the occasion. 

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, more than 148 million U.S. adults plan to participate in Halloween-related activities. Among those celebrants, safe at-home activities ranked highest: 53 percent plan to decorate their homes, 46 percent plan to carve a pumpkin and 18 percent will dress up their pet.

More than three-quarters say the virus is impacting their celebration plans, with overall participation down to 58 percent. Plans for parties, trick-or-treating, handing out candy and visiting haunted houses have all dropped, due largely to the fact that some activities do not easily adhere to social distancing. Even so, 17 percent say they plan to celebrate virtually.

Consumer spending is expected to reach $8.05 billion, down slightly from $8.78 billion in 2019, due to the drop in participation. However, consumers are spending more on the activities that will ensure a memorable holiday. Those who are celebrating plan to spend $92.12 on average compared with $86.27 in 2019. Consumers are doing what they can to still make it a special event by spending a little more on home decorations, candy and greeting cards. 

Click here to read the full story from the NRF. 

Fading Fiscal Stimulus Restraining U.S. Consumer Spending

By Staff
Thursday, September 17, 2020 12:51 PM Consumers are being increasingly cautious with their spending. If Congress is unable to extend fiscal aid to households in the coming weeks, the economy will be particularly susceptible to a cutback in consumer spending, especially from the lowest-income families.

One Study Says Wearing Glasses May Lower COVID Risk

By Staff
Thursday, September 17, 2020 10:31 AM According to a new study reported in WebMD, people wearing glasses may just be less susceptible to COVID-19 infection.This is because they prevent wearers from touching their eyes, which can help avoid transferring the virus, should it be present on their hands. Head over to WebMD for a more in-depth look at the report, and what might come of this knowledge moving forward.

Jobson Honors Three New ODs on its Online Eyecare Heroes Gallery

By Staff
Thursday, September 17, 2020 12:21 AM NEW YORK—As the COVID-19 virus continues to affect our everyday activities, Jobson continues its salute to the industry's health care workers, especially ECPs, for continuing to provide essential eyecare during the pandemic. This week, we honor three more Eyecare Heroes in our online gallery located at the Eyecare Heroes site. Dr. Gary Chu, New England College of Optometry, Boston, Mass., Dr. Michael McGovern, SUNY College of Optometry, New York, N.Y., and Dr. Eva Yan, Metro Optics, Bronx, N.Y. ECPs in the Gallery were selected from among the nominations submitted by readers of Vision Monday and 20/20.

Retail Sales for August Tick Up Slightly Following Dramatic Drop in April

By Staff
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 3:11 PM WASHINGTON—Retail sales continued to recover from the coronavirus pandemic in August, showing a gradual improvement from July. The U.S. Census Bureau said yesterday that overall retail sales during August were up 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from July and up 2.6 percent year-over-year. That follows a 0.9 percent month-over-month increase in July. Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August 2020, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $537.5 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Retail sales have been climbing after a record monthly drop while most stores were closed in April.

“While August retail sales numbers were a bit mixed, we believe the consumer is resilient and is in good shape as we head into the holiday season,” National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay said. 

“Over the past several months, consumers have responded well to federal relief measures that have supported the recovery, so it comes as no surprise that they would take a pause on spending as some of these programs tapered off at the end of July. We continue to advocate for additional stimulus measures to help the economy recover. With the holidays quickly approaching, our retailers are prepared to serve customers to meet all of their holiday needs and are embracing the new holiday tradition of shopping early.”

Click here
 to read the full story from the NRF. 

The Flu Vaccine—More Important Than Ever Before

By Mary Kane
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 1:35 PM Every year, I use this Today’s Read space to educate and inform our readers about the importance of getting a flu vaccine. But like everything else in 2020, this year’s flu season feels strangely different and its onset this fall and winter could bring with it some new dangers and challenges. Several health officials are predicting that the fall convergence of the flu season and a possible second wave (or in some places, a continuation) of COVID-19 might indeed collide creating a “twindemic” of sorts. Health experts are strongly urging Americans to get the flu shot hoping to ward off possible scenarios where people could potentially contract both the flu virus and the coronavirus at the same time. Read More

CDC’s Messonnier Says She Trusts COVID Vaccine Process

By Staff
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 11:43 AM Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, was the first public health official to warn the public about the coming impacts of COVID-19 on daily life. In a new interview with WebMD, Messonnier talks about her current work on the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, a topic she'll be addressing at the upcoming Health Connect South Conference. Dr. talks about what the fall and winter season might bring, when can we expect a vaccine and how the vaccine trials are advancing. Head over to WebMD to read the full interview.