Market data from ABB OPTICAL GROUP show that eyecare practices shipping more than 10% of their soft contact lenses (SCL) directly to patients outpace the national average for dollar growth. Conversely, eyecare practices with little to no direct-to-patient shipping activity under perform the national average.

The national average for direct-to-patient dollar share was 25%, and the national average for dollar growth in 2017 was 7.2%. Practices with more than 45% direct-to-patient dollar share grew 8.6% year-over-year, while practices with less than 10% direct-to-patient dollar share only grew at 6.3 percent.

“Our data also show that patients are seven times less likely to return contact lenses when the product is shipped directly to their homes or workplaces,” said Aaron See, vice president of marketing for ABB. “We are seeing that more and more independent eyecare professionals are choosing patient-direct shipments as a means of competing on convenience with online retailers, instead of asking patients to make return office visits to get their lenses.”

ABB’s data also indicate that more than one-third of direct-to-patient shipments are daily disposables, and more than one-quarter of direct-to-patient shipments are torics. “When we look at how daily disposables and torics are trending, this information is not surprising,” See added. “Overall in 2017, daily disposables were up nearly 19% and torics up nearly 10%. We predict that we’ll continue to see growth in both categories, especially in direct-to-patient sales.”

The analysis is based on 2017 sales data from approximately 11,000 eyecare offices, representing nearly 31% of total contact lens wholesale dollars in the U.S.


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