42% of Eyeglass, Contact Lens Buyers Research Using Online, Traditional Media Before Purchase

WESTERVILLE, Ohio- (Business Wire)-April 7, 2009 – Forty-two percent of recent eyeglass and contact lens buyers report influence from online media, the same percentage as traditional media, revealing the increasing power of the Internet on purchase decisions, according to the Spring 2009 Ad-ology Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey.

Among 45-54 year olds, 23.5% were influenced by manufacturer Web sites and 13.2% by search results. In addition to price and quality, the most important factors to this age group were knowledgeable staff (77.7%), product availability (71.9%), and store/optometrists’ variety/selection (71.7%).

Fashion/style-related Web sites influenced 35% of 18-to-24-year old purchasers and 30.5% of 25 to 34 year olds. These two groups were also more influenced by search results or sponsored links than older purchasers, and were more likely to buy online.

Consumers surveyed were almost equally split in regards to where they prefer to purchase eyeglasses and contact lenses. Approximately 49% prefer purchasing from their eye doctor/optometrist’s office, and 46% prefer to buy from an optical store.

“Although just over five percent of U.S. adults said they prefer to buy online, that translates to a market of more than 11 million potential customers,” said C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research. “Even those buying from optical stores and opticians are influenced by online information, making store Web sites and online marketing critical,” Smith said.

Other key findings from the survey:

* Approximately 40.8 million Americans adults researched eyeglass styles and contacts online recently

* 18 to 24 year olds were most influenced by social media, with positive reviews “significantly” influencing 14%

* Fashion/style-related Web sites influenced 35% of 18-to-24-year old purchasers

* Of traditional media, television, direct mail, newspapers, and yellow pages had the most influence on U.S. buyers

The Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey is conducted throughout the year by Ad-ology Research to study online, traditional, and social media influence on buying decisions.

The 64-page downloadable report, Media Influence on Consumer Choice: Eye Care and Vision Correction, is available for purchase through Ad-ology.net, and includes 27 data charts, consumer-spending estimates by market, and additional marketing insights.

About Ad-ology Research

Ad-ology Research analyzes key marketing and advertising trends in over 400 industries and what motivates end-customers. The company’s research is used by over 2,000 advertising agencies, media properties and product marketing departments across the United States. Ad-ology Research is a division of Sales Development Services (SDS), Inc. – a Westerville, Ohio firm founded in 1989.

Methodology

Ad-ology Research surveyed an online consumer panel of 1,213 adults in a manner that is 98% representative of the adult population of the United States from January 5-8, 2009. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 2.2 percentage points.

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