The Impact of Inflation on Eye Care Businesses: A Focus on Premium Frame Sales

by | Apr 6, 2023 | Data Insights and Industry Trends


Maximizing sales of higher-priced frames can help you achieve your revenue goals, even if you’re seeing fewer patients or selling fewer frames. Last year, we explored the relationship between frame list price and contribution to revenue. We found that frames listed under $319 accounted for 90% of frame units sold, but only contributed 79% of frame list dollar revenue. In contrast, frames priced at $450 and above made up just 2.5% of units sold, yet contributed 7% to total frame revenue in list dollars.

Earlier this year, we reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), after removing food and energy, had an average increase of 5.25% over the past two years. GPN’s tracking of eyeglass frame list prices also showed inflationary increases over the same period, with an average annual increase of 3.67%.

Given these facts, we wanted to explore how the price of the top 2.5% tier of frames (i.e., the 97.5 percentile price) has changed over time, and whether location affects the price of these frames.


For our analysis, we used data from the GPN data warehouse, which includes nearly 16 million frame transactions from 2,600 eyecare locations across the US between January 2019 and December 2022.


Our results showed that, consistent with our earlier report, the entry point to the top 2.5 percentile of frame prices averaged $448 over the past four years across the US. The opening price point of the top tier frames was lowest in the first quarter of the dataset (Q1 2019) at $424, and reached a peak of $489 by the end of 2022, representing a 15.3% increase.

Over the four years, all nine US census divisions saw an increase in the opening top tier price point. The Pacific division had the highest top tier opening price at $545 by Q4 2022, a 14.3% increase from Q1 2019. In contrast, the East South Central division had the weakest top tier entry price at $402 by Q4 2022, a 16.2% increase from Q1 2019.

The share of frame sales garnered by the top 2.5% price point frames averaged 6.9% over the four years. The share of frame revenue remained steady, ranging from 6.8% to 7.0%.

The West South Central had the highest share of frame revenue attributable to the top tier segment at 7.2%, while the West North Central was the lowest at 6.4%.

Hover over the map to see each division’s opening price point and share of frame revenue for top tier frames. Selecting a state narrows the column chart results to the chosen division. Select any column representing a given quarter on the timeline chart, to narrow the map results.


Our analysis suggests that top tier frame prices have increased at a compound annual growth rate of 3.6% over the past four years, which matches inflation over the past two years. With rising prices, the share of frame revenue derived from these premium items has remained steady at 7%. To outpace inflation for greater shares of frame revenue, you need to raise prices further or sell more top tier units.

To increase your premium frame share, you need to commit to inventory, present premium options consistently without pre-judging patient affordability, and clearly and confidently communicate the features, benefits, and styling that justify the value.

As shown here, tactical pricing, balancing inventory mix and indeed all strategic planning and marketing endeavors are most successful when data driven.

About Industry Trends

Through robust analysis of anonymized data, we are able to develop insights, profiles, and a deeper understanding of market results and benchmarks.

GPN aggregates millions of transactions from thousands of eyecare providers, and focalCenter performs rigorous analysis for delivering timely and precise micro and macro dashboards with interactive business intelligence to the eyecare industry. Please feel free to contact us for more information on growing your eyecare business with data-driven strategies.

By Ron Krefman, OD

Finding solutions in data science.


Share This