Click to download a PDF of Eyewear Consumers.

NEW YORK—The past few years have seen massive, sometimes unpredictable, change in consumer behavior. From a pandemic none of us expected to social media-driven shopping trends that change at the drop of a hat, it can feel almost impossible to predict what consumers will want, or need, next.

In December 2022, Ernst & Young shared reports from the 11th edition of its US Future Consumer Index, which found that 94 percent of U.S. consumers are concerned about the country’s economy. In turn, Americans are doing their best to cut costs: E&Y reports that 49 percent of respondents said they are spending less on nonessentials, and 26 percent shop with an “affordability first” mindset.

For the eyewear and eyecare industries, there is some good news: people will always need to take care of their eye health. The need to see an optometrist or update a pair of frames is a constant—but staying on top of consumer trends and changes is vital, too. It’s imperative to know how to approach new consumers, keep old ones and offer something for everyone.

The Harvard Business Review spent the final week of 2022 surveying 500 adults from across the U.S., and found that “that the most common type of resolution was health-related.” While most of these resolutions had to do with general weight loss and exercise goals, there’s no question that Americans overall seem to want to get healthier in the new year—an overall resolution in which the eyecare and eyewear industries are perfectly situated.

As the economy and shopping habits continue to change, our industry will have to adapt alongside these changes. To do that, we have to identify how Americans shop—what they want, what they’re not getting and how the eyewear and eyecare industry can change what they do to better serve their customers. What consumers expect varies by their age group—from the youngest consumers in Generation Alpha through to the Silent Generation—but the optical industry has the tools to reach everyone.