Trends in Polycarbonate Lens Sales

by | Mar 12, 2024 | Data Insights and Industry Trends

In an earlier report here, we explored the profile of patients most likely to adopt polycarbonate as their choice of lens material. In this report, we further explore the demand for polycarbonate lenses, this time by analyzing preferences for this material over time and by place. Knowing the seasonal and regional market share differences of this most popular lens material affords you the opportunity to specifically benchmark your own practice results, thereby identifying opportunities for growth and providing you the information needed to set evidence-based goals.


To explore seasonal and geographic differences in consumption of polycarbonate lenses, we analyzed millions of transactions from nearly 2,000 ECP locations across all US regions during years 2019-2023. Specifically, we counted all prescription lens sales by material and aggregated results by quarter and US region.


The results are depicted in the ribbon chart which displays the regions in rank order (largest average share of polycarbonate sales per location). Each ribbon color represents a US region connecting it’s results across the time continuum so you can easily see when there’s an increase or decrease and shift in rank. The dark sections of each ribbon display the quarterly results and the light areas between quarters display the changes between quarters. This is particularly useful for spotting trends, understanding rank volatility, and analyzing relative performance over time.

Averaging regional quarterly results by year for the US, the share of polycarbonate lenses per location began at 52.6% in 2019 and grew by 0.2% in 2020 to 52.8%, then jumped by 3.1% in 2021 to 55.8%, rose 1.8% in 2022 to the five year high of 57.6% before declining in 2023 by -1% to 56.6%.

Aggregating across all years and regions, the third quarter had the highest polycarbonate share average at 55.7%, the first quarter was next highest at 55.0%, followed by Q2 and Q4 both averaging 54.8%.

Over the five-year period, at 57.0%, the South region accounts for the largest average share of polycarbonate lenses per location followed by the Northeast at 55.6%, the Midwest at 54.1% with the West region trialing at 53.6% share of polycarbonate lenses per door quarterly average.

The South region had its peak share at 59.9% in Q4 ’21 and led all regions in 11 of 20 quarters, however only in 2 of the last eight quarters.  The South region had it’s lowest rank in Q2 ’21 at 53.3%, and its least share in Q2 ’19.

The Northeast had the highest single quarter share of all, with a location average of 62.8% of lenses sold as polycarbonate during the Q4 ’22. The Northeast ranked highest in 6 of the 20 quarters, including the most recent 3 quarters.

The Midwest region was top ranked in only 2 quarters. It’s peak share occurred during Q1 ’22 at 60.5%. In 12 of the 20 quarters, the Midwest region ranked 3rd in quarterly average share of polycarbonate sales per location.

The West Region began the 5-year period with 3 out of 4 quarters in the top 2 ranks, including top rank in Q4 ’19. Since Q2 ’22 the West region has been the lowest ranked region in average share of polycarbonate sales per location.


These metrics provide a comprehensive overview of the trends in both the percentage of polycarbonate lenses per door and the quarterly changes across different time frames and regions, aiding in benchmarking and goal setting.

Market share serves as a vital metric for gauging position within product mix. Comparing your market share to a benchmark allows you to assess how your mix of products are performing relative to competitors. This insight can guide your strategic decisions regarding pricing, promotions, and product assortment.

By analyzing seasonal market share for your locale, you can identify when to expect peaks and valleys and plan your resources like marketing budgets or inventory assortment accordingly. By targeting promotions and advertising efforts during peak seasons or periods of high demand, you can maximize the impact of your marketing campaigns and drive sales growth.

 Investing your resources in products like polycarbonate with a high market share can help maximize your return on investment.

Tracking your practice’s growth of product share over time enables you to monitor the performance of your offerings and identify trends or patterns. Growth metrics, such as quarter-over-quarter changes, enables you to assess the effectiveness of your strategies and make adjustments as needed to maintain competitiveness and drive sustained growth.

Understanding market share and the seasonality of product share is essential for making informed decisions, optimizing resource allocation, and staying competitive in a dynamic marketplace. By leveraging this knowledge, retailers can enhance their strategic planning, capitalize on growth opportunities, and ultimately, achieve long-term success.

Knowledge of the overall market share can also empower your partnership with suppliers. Leverage market insights and your practice patterns to negotiate better pricing, terms, or exclusive deals.

Understanding the dynamics of the overall market share can help mitigate risks associated with inventory management and sales forecasting. By anticipating market fluctuations and adjusting inventory marketing, you can minimize potential losses or maximize gains.

Knowing the overall market share of a specific product type enables small independent retailers to make informed decisions, enhance their competitive position, identify growth opportunities, optimize inventory management, and mitigate risks, ultimately leading to improved performance and profitability.

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.


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