In the recent governmental data under the North American industry classification system, the optical good stores under the classification code of 44630, there were 13149 number of these establishments and 5,398, in the United States. This code includes retailing and fitting and grinding prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses on premises. According to national healthcare expenditure account, which is officially estimated by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), in 2008 ophthalmic products sale had reached 26.6 billion, excluding the service of the optometrists. Despite the global economic recession that occurred in 2008, the global market for eyeglasses is expected to reach US $95.66 billion by 2015. This trend is expected to continue with an annual compound annual rate of 4.4 and 2.4 percent, in the world and United States respectively.
According the American Optometrist Association 2008 report, privet optometrist’s practices account for the largest share of the market with 44.8% of dollar volume sale, followed by 30.1% by chain stores and large merchandisers. Most of these private practices are often in rural areas serving smaller populations and have established relationships with their patients, but often do not like to spend on new technology. Based on the data from Jabson Optical Research and MBA survey, sales during 2011 grew at somewhat faster rather than overall revenue among independent optometric practices. These private practices often only focus on building on personal relationships and providing core services without much regard to the importance of appearance. On the other hand, large practices that often locate in larger population centers invest in attractive displays and modern equipment since they have an organized marketing strategy, to gaining credibility in the eye of their customers.
The glass fitting technology is mainly a new industry that is currently focusing on virtual technology in order to continue to attract customers in to E-commerce. One of these online eye wear retailor such as Ditto Inc. allow shoppers to create a 3D version of themselves using the webcam recording, which allows online customers to put on different frames before making a purchase. According to their online customer representative, the company was created seven months ago which did not allow her to make a prediction on the life cycle of the industry or seasonal trend of this new company
Although, currently there is no direct competitor to our product, there are emerging trends that could negatively impact our market. The most prevalent trend, that needs to be taken into account, is the impact of the internet and more specifically online shopping on brick and mortar retail businesses. Research shows that the brick and mortar retail industry is on decline while the ecommerce industry is growing at a significant rate. Online sales are now approaching $200 billion a year in America. Their share of total retail sales is creeping up relentlessly, from 5% five years ago to 9% now. Websites that specialize in selling prescription eyeglasses currently are able to sell glasses at deep discounted rates, which could be up to 70% off. This is often due to the fact that on-line stores do not have an overhead cost like physical stores do.
The main advantage that physical eyeglass stores have over on-line retailers is their ability to give customers in person experience with trying on different sets of eyeglasses and fitting them according to customer specifications. Our product attempts to improve this costumer experience by making the glass fitting experience more convenient and pleasant by introducing new technology. This in person experience, which our product relays on, is only a temporary advantage over on-line retailer. While buying a pair of eye glasses is a very personal purchase, some eye glasses sites are able to give customers similar shopping experience virtually. Sites such as...