What Americans Are Doing About Microplastics

By Staff
Thursday, August 15, 2019 7:00 AM A survey for Statista by YouGov has revealed that only 52 percent of adults in the U.S. have heard of microplastics. The issue, which has been troubling environmentalists in recent years, has been garnering more attention in the media, with headlines such as “Microplastics are raining down from the sky”, or “There’s no getting away from microplastic contamination” raising awareness. So what are the 52 percent doing to reduce the production of/contact with microplastics? 

Our survey revealed that the most common action is recycling (more) plastic products. Next up, almost 30 percent say they now try to avoid buying food in plastic packaging, while a similar amount of people also try to avoid consuming drinks from plastic bottles.

About Three-In-Ten U.S. Adults Say They Are ‘Almost Constantly’ Online

By Andrew Karp
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 8:00 AM As smartphones and other mobile devices have become more widespread, 28 percent of American adults now report that they go online “almost constantly,” up from 21 percent in 2015, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 8 to Feb. 7, 2019. Overall, 81 percent of Americans say they go online on a daily basis. That figure includes the 28 percent who go online almost constantly, as well as 45 percent who say they go online several times a day and 9 percent who go online about once a day. Some 8 percent go online several times a week or less often, while 10 percent of adults say they do not use the internet at all. Adults with mobile connectivity are especially likely to be online a lot. Among mobile internet users—the 86 percent of Americans who use the internet at least occasionally using a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device—92 percent go online daily and 32 percent go online almost constantly.

Preparing for 2019 Holiday Shopping

By Andrew Karp
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 8:00 AM The holiday shopping cycle is becoming a year-round phenomenon. As Elizabeth Timmis, director, content marketing for digital media and marketing agency Stella Rising pointed out in a recent article, with Prime Day now a July fixture, brands are seeking to engage the increasing number of year-round holiday shoppers who shop this way, whether to stretch out purchases or feel less stressed during November and December.

Timmis recommended that brands need to recover quickly from July sales and amp up their Q4 efforts, adding that the 2019 holiday retail season presents a paradox: higher anticipated sales in a shorter period. “This year will likely be a mad rush for those brands that do not get ahead of the game or solely bank on the Thanksgiving through Christmas period,” she said.

Packing for a Trip Takes on a New Meaning

By Andrew Karp
Monday, August 12, 2019 8:00 AM Data journalist Niall McCarthy of Statista reported last week that TSA agents discovered that a passenger had a rocket launcher in his checked baggage in Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. He was identified as a member of the U.S. military returning home from Kuwait and the non-functional rocket launcher was a souvenir from his time spent in the Middle East. 

But rocket launchers are not the only weapons passengers are packing. Authorities found a record 4,239 firearms at U.S. airports last year, a record high, according to McCarthy. The Transportation Security Administration released the data, adding that 86 percent of the guns were loaded at the time of discovery while 33.7 percent had a round chambered. On a weekly basis, an average of 81.6 firearms were intercepted at U.S. airports last year. The number found has been rising steadily since records began in 2005. Back in 2007, only 803 guns were found in carry-on baggage, quite a difference compared to more than 4,000 today, McCarthy reported.

Study Finds One-Third of Consumers Will Drop a Brand After One Bad Experience

By Staff
Sunday, August 11, 2019 12:00 AM A new study conducted by Oracle finds that people are upset and disappointed by the experiences brands are providing. The study, which Oracle conducted in partnership with Customer Bliss, includes insights from more than 1,100 U.S. consumers across four generations. It found that 43 percent of people “blacklist brands that fail to meet their expectations and that a lack of trust in brands is making it increasingly difficult to influence purchasing behavior,” according to an announcement by Oracle about the findings.

“Relationships between brands and consumers begin when a customer has faith in a company and that trust must be constantly earned – it cannot be bought and can be easily lost," Customer Bliss founder Jeanne Bliss said in the announcement. "As this study shows, consumers are attracted to brands that go the extra mile to deliver personalized experiences and are willing to take decisive action when their expectations are not met. The key takeaway here is that one size doesn't fit all and if you invest in customer experience, your customers will invest in you.”

According to the findings, a majority of consumers (82 percent) have had an experience with a brand that is disappointing or upsetting, and more than three quarters of consumers (78 percent) say they have had an experience where they were not satisfied with the customer service provided.

Work Demands and Schedule Often Interfere With Eating Well, WIO Pop-Up Poll Says

By Staff
Thursday, August 8, 2019 8:00 AM Nearly half (47 percent) of the respondents to a recent Women In Optometry Pop-Up Poll said that they eat well most of the time. Another nearly 21 percent that they do about half of the time, and 15 percent they eat well less often than they'd like to. Just about 17 percent said that they eat well all of the time. 

A number of factors contributed to why respondents did not eat well at least part of the time. Overwhelmingly, 65 percent said that their work schedule demands were an interference. Other top responses were that participants were too tired to cook (44 percent), lack of inspiration (38 percent) and their kids'/family schedule (28 percent). Those who took the poll shared a glimpse of what their regular meals look like throughout the week. The dominant response of 80 percent was that they ate home-cooked with fresh foods, followed by prepared/frozen meals (7 percent) and takeout eaten at home (7 percent).

Trust and Mistrust in Americans’ Views of Scientific Experts

By Staff
Wednesday, August 7, 2019 8:00 AM In an era when science and politics often appear to collide, public confidence in scientists is on the upswing, and six-in-ten Americans say scientists should play an active role in policy debates about scientific issues, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The survey finds public confidence in scientists on par with confidence in the military. It also exceeds the levels of public confidence in other groups and institutions, including the media, business leaders and elected officials.

At the same time, Americans are divided along party lines in terms of how they view the value and objectivity of scientists and their ability to act in the public interest. And, while political divides do not carry over to views of all scientists and scientific issues, there are particularly sizable gaps between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to trust in scientists whose work is related to the environment.

Optometry Equipment Market in Numbers

By Andrew Karp
Tuesday, August 6, 2019 8:00 AM Market research firm Fact.MR has issued a report on the global market for optometry equipment. The detailed report includes profiles of key players. Here are some topline findings: The global market for optometry equipment was valued at $3.8 billion in 2018.
• Optometry equipment market revenues are likely to witness a moderate 4 percent increase during the period of assessment, i.e. between 2019 and 2029.
• Over the course of the decade-old projection period, the market for optometry equipment is expected to gain $2 billion incremental opportunity.
• Ophthalmic diagnostic equipment is envisaged to remain top selling ophthalmic equipment category, with sizeable revenue shares in global market.
• A majority of global market revenues are accounted by North America and Europe.
• Hospital OPDs are likely to remain top end users of optometry equipment through 2029.

Diagnosing Opportunity in Health and Wellness

By Staff
Monday, August 5, 2019 3:05 PM Health and wellness represents a huge opportunity for consumer goods companies. However, Robin Sherk, director, consumer & retail for the research firm CB Insights argues in a recent article that many companies need to adjust the way they are approaching the category.

“To truly capitalize on this multi-trillion dollar opportunity, we need more than this simplistic health and wellness framing, which glosses over the range of consumer demands and pockets of opportunity,” Sherk said. She suggests looking at the following six “lenses” across consumers’ health and wellness demands.

Flagship Retail Locations Are No Longer in Fashion

By Staff
Sunday, August 4, 2019 8:00 AM Is the era of the ornate flagship location over for retailers? This was the question posed in a recent report by The Associates Press. As the report noted, flagship stores used to be considered a retailer’s crown jewel with a “swank” location and a design that showcased the best of a brand had to offer. 

“But now the so-called flagship store is disappearing from high-profile shopping thoroughfares like Manhattan's Madison Avenue and Chicago's Magnificent Mile because of skyrocketing rents and the shift to online shopping,” the report noted. 

The Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Lord & Taylor and Polo Ralph Lauren all have closed flagship stores on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue over the past year or so. Abercrombie, too, is in the midst of closing its big locations, from SoHo to Japan. 

CoStar Group, a real estate research firm, examined retail leasing at luxury corridors in seven cities: Miami's Lincoln Road, Los Angeles's Golden Triangle, Chicago's Magnificent Mile, Washington D.C.'s Georgetown district, Boston's Newbury Street, Manhattan's Fifth Avenue and San Francisco's Union Square. The firm found the vacancy rate rose to 7 percent last year from 3 percent in 2017 — greater than the 4 percent rate those areas saw in the Great Recession, the report noted. 

Half of Respondents Have Experienced an Income Gap

By Staff
Thursday, August 1, 2019 8:00 AM At least half of the respondents to a recent Women In Optometry (WO) Pop-up Poll stated that they had experienced an income gap at some point throughout their career. Nearly 32 percent said that they weren't sure or didn't know, and just 18 percent said that they had not seen an income gap in their experiences. Eighty-two percent of the respondents were women.

Ready for a Rate Cut?

By Staff
Wednesday, July 31, 2019 8:00 AM The Fed, as expected cut rates on Wednesday for the first time since 2008 as tariffs and fears of a global economic downturn are weighing on economic growth. According to preliminary figures released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Friday, U.S. GDP growth slowed to 2.1 percent in the second quarter, down from 3.1 percent in the first three months of 2019. Ahead of the Fed’s meeting this week, economists were widely expecting a 0.25 percentage point cut, to bolster the economy preemptively and keep the current expansion alive.

As the chart from Statista.com shows, the European Central Bank lowered the interest rate for main refinancing operations to 0.00 in March 2016 and has kept it there ever since. In the meantime, the U.S. has seen eight rate hikes.

Click here to read the full story from Statista.com.

How Blockchain Can Make Food Safer

By Andrew Karp
Tuesday, July 30, 2019 8:00 AM At the 2019 Vision Monday Global Leadership Summit, Janine Grasso, IBM’s vice president, strategy, operations and ecosystem development for blockchain, told attendees how blockchain can improve efficiency and safety in the food supply chain for food, which brings together growers, packagers, processors and grocers across multiple regions and countries. She offered an example of how IBM used blockchain to help Walmart find the source of tainted lettuce being sold in its stores. 

“It was taking Walmart too long to figure out where this [unsafe] food was on the shelf and which farm it came from,” Grasso explained. “What was happening is that they would have to remove all of the inventory, and they were literally throwing thousands or millions of dollars worth of food out because they didn’t want to take a risk.” 

Insight into the Economics of Independent Optometry

By Andrew Karp
Monday, July 29, 2019 6:00 AM A new study by CareCredit offers illuminating data about the economics of independent optometry practices. The data was provided by Glimpse, a division of ABB Optical Group, and was generated from over 500 independent practices participating with The Glimpse dashboard service. 

The total gross revenue per practice in 2018 averaged just over $2 million per year, according to the report, “Independent Optometry Key Performance Metrics, Trend Report 2018.” The authors noted, “Q3 brought in the highest level of revenue, indicating possible seasonal consumer needs, such as back to school. Comparatively, the total gross revenue trend from 2017 to 2018 was very stable, averaging just over $2 million per year, with Q3 demonstrating consistent peaks in revenue.” 

About Half of Consumers Are Buying ‘Disruptor’ Brands, Study Finds

By Staff
Friday, July 26, 2019 6:00 AM In a recent study of consumer shopping preferences, IAB, the national trade association for digital media, said it found that 48 percent of all U.S consumers are “disruptive brand” shoppers. These shoppers are “younger than incumbent brand-only shoppers, with 84 percent under 54 years old, and are likelier to have a household income of more than $75,000,” IAB noted. 

(Direct, or disruptive, brands “create value through low-barrier, capital-flexible, leased or rented supply chains, with value extraction accomplished primarily through the direct relationships between the company and its end consumers,” the IAB report noted. “Incumbent brands” are the traditional brands that predominantly are sold in retail stores. Warby Parker is cited as a prime example of a direct or disruptive brand in the IAB report.) 

Among the other key takeaways from the study:
• Disruptor brands build consumer loyalty—as well as lifetime value (LTV)—through cross-channel interaction
• Search, shopping, and social media sites are each nearly equal to traditional TV for brand discovery
• Influencers are the “advertising” of the modern consumer economy, and wield their greatest power during initial purchase consideration and further down the purchase funnel
• Disruptor consumers expect 24/7 omnichannel access