Drawing on the impact COVID-19 has had on the contact lens industry, CooperVision shares its outlook for 2021 and what this means for practices across Europe.
EMEA Region, Southampton England, January 19, 2021— With hope on the horizon in the fight against COVID-19 thanks to the rollout of multiple vaccine options, global contact lens manufacturer CooperVision is turning its attention to the key learnings and opportunities practices can take away from the pandemic, to help build stronger, more successful businesses in 2021. Using its latest trend data, CooperVision shares its thoughts on what the industry can expect when considering the evolving patient experience, the role of technology in practice and the growing importance of sustainability.
Throughout 2020 the contact lens category has shown resilience. In fact, contact lens wearing has now shown to have roughly returned to pre-COVID levels when it comes to wearing frequency.i And while it’s still too early to claim ‘business as usual’ following such significant disruption, as 2021 progresses and lockdown restrictions gradually ease, patient reasons for reduced lens wear, such as not going to work or socialising as often,ii can look to be addressed as more and more people return to their usual activities.
Contact lenses have been a positive contributor to the optical industry during lockdowns, providing a consistent source of income for practices and accounting for a greater share of practice turnover than before the outbreak.iii It is therefore important to consider the contribution to practice turnover that contact lenses can make even when access is limited.
Evolving the patient experience
In looking to understand the changing patient attitudes, a recent survey identified that 68% of patients think that their practice should provide a home delivery service for their contact lenses, whilst 74% think they should have the option to purchase their contact lenses online through their practice.i Interestingly, over half of patients (57%) think their ECP should provide the option for remote appointments, either by telephone or video call, for their routine contact lens appointments i and 51% feel a remote contact lens consultation would be as good as seeing an optician in person.iv
However, there is still an appetite for patients to visit practices in-person once it is safe to do so. 18% of contact lens wearers have delayed a contact lens check-up due to the pandemic,v however encouragingly 88% who have visited their local practice following a lockdown are likely to visit again based on their experience.vi
“It’s all about giving patients choice – whether they prefer dealing with their practice remotely or seeing their ECP face-to-face, it’s essential practices evolve the way they connect with their patients and look for efficiencies through the use of remote solutions and technology”, comments Marcella McParland, Professional Affairs Senior Director EMEA at CooperVision.
“2021 will see practices really hone how they manage their practice – we’re likely to see the introduction of new online booking methods, in addition to an improved focus on appointments and streamlined services to allow for easy payments. Aftercare is also likely to be offered more regularly on telephone and video platforms, along with teaching new patients’ tutorial-style on how to handle their contact lenses.”
One of the biggest changes to everyone’s daily routine is the introduction of face masks, something that is likely to remain in place for the remainder of 2021. Contact lenses offer a practical and simple solution to the issue of glasses fogging up, and 62% of spectacle wearers would consider wearing contact lenses when wearing a mask.vii
Marcella continues, “Face masks are now an essential part of everyday life and that can cause glasses wearers to become increasingly frustrated as they battle with the inconvenience of foggy, steamy lenses, particularly when they’re trying to work. Contact lenses provide an effective solution in these circumstances, it’s a chance for people who’ve never worn them to try them out or even as a conversation starter to discuss their options when it comes to contact lenses.”
A responsible future
When it comes to future trends, despite the overwhelming impact of Coronavirus throughout 2020 and into this year, the importance of sustainability and our impact on the environment is something that will continue to rise on the agenda of consumers as we move further into the year.
In a recent survey, 72% of consumers said companies behaving sustainably was more important to them because of COVID-19, whilst they also expect more from themselves with 70% identifying that reducing their own impact on the environment was more important because of the outbreak.viii
Heathcliffe Clash, Head of Marketing Communications EMEA for CooperVision, shared his perspective: “All trends point to sustainability becoming ever more important for consumers and their expectations of those who provide the goods and services of everyday life. I believe that 2021 will continue to see consumers making choices that are heavily influenced by sustainable credentials and practices. Here at CooperVision, we’ll continue to focus on sustainable practices across our manufacturing and distribution operations, building on the sustainability certifications we have received for our efforts to date.”
More details of CooperVision’s sustainability efforts, alongside its range of tools and products designed to support practices and their patients can be found at www.coopervision.com.
i CV data on file. Covid-19 contact lens users survey, Verve, November 2020. All countries n=400: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and UK, European base = 2400. Significantly significant at 95% confidence.
ii CV data on file. Covid-19 contact lens user survey, Verve, April & May 2020 Base (all respondents): Total n=2640, UK, Italy, Spain, Sweden n = 480, Germany & France: n = 360.
iii CVI data on file 2020. Covid-19 contact lens practitioner survey, Flame Health, May 2020. Base (all respondents): Total n=385, UK (n=215), Spain (n=170), multi-answer.
iv Technology in the contact lens journey UK, Verve, November 2020 (Base - 2064)
v CVI data on file 2020. Covid-19 contact lens users survey, Verve, July 2020. Base (all respondents): Total n=~2452 by country, UK, n=408, Germany n=409, Italy n=406, Spain n=410,Sweden n=410 and France n=409
vi CVI data on file 2020. Covid-19 contact lens users survey, Verve, July 2020. Base (all respondents): Total n=88, UK.
vii CVI data on file 2020. Covid-19 glasses users survey, Verve, September 2020. Base (all respondents): Total n=150 per country (Sweden, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, UK and France, total n=1050).
vii Global Web Index, July 2020.
CooperVision, a division of CooperCompanies (NYSE:COO), is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of contact lenses. The company produces a full array of daily disposable, two-week and monthly soft contact lenses that feature advanced materials and optics, and premium rigid gas permeable lenses for orthokeratology and scleral designs. CooperVision has a strong heritage of addressing the toughest vision challenges such as astigmatism, presbyopia, childhood myopia, and highly irregular corneas; and offers the most complete portfolio of spherical, toric and multifocal products available. Through a combination of innovative products and focused practitioner support, the company brings a refreshing perspective to the marketplace, creating real advantages for customers and wearers. For more information, visit www.coopervision.com.
CooperCompanies ("Cooper") is a global medical device company publicly traded on the NYSE (NYSE:COO). Cooper operates through two business units, CooperVision and CooperSurgical. CooperVision brings a refreshing perspective on vision care with a commitment to developing a wide range of high-quality products for contact lens wearers and providing focused practitioner support. CooperSurgical is committed to advancing the health of women, babies and families with its diversified portfolio of products and services focusing on medical devices and fertility & genomics. Headquartered in San Ramon, Calif., Cooper has a workforce of more than 12,000 with products sold in over 100 countries. For more information, please visit www.coopercos.com.