In recent weeks, we contracted with Infocus Marketing, a distribution entity that has direct access to the American Optometric Association, to conduct a survey of the association’s members. We polled 55 optometrists on a variety of topics, including views on contact lens use trends and the outlook for CooperVision (CVI). Our optometrists expect steady domestic contact lens volume growth in 2014, which we estimate will amount to about 3% this year.
The trends driving this growth (younger and older patients choosing to use contact lenses) have considerable room for expansion, and we believe this lowsingle- digit volume growth is sustainable for several years. Favorable Mix Shifts Should Provide Another Tailwind.
The group also expects greater use of higher-priced daily disposables, silicone hydrogels, and daily silicone hydrogels, which should provide a favorable mix shift. In aggregate, we estimate the contact lens market this year will expand at about 6%-7% in the United States and roughly 7% worldwide.
While investors have been concerned about the gross margin impact of MyDay, our survey feedback suggests that the market is shifting toward daily silicone hydrogel lenses, and we continue to believe that the investments that the company is making in this segment are warranted.
Our respondents anticipate another year of CVI share-taking (60 basis points) among their patients over the next 12 months. The group was not overly impressed with the newer Ultra product from Bausch & Lomb (we do not anticipate it will capture meaningful amounts of new share), and while feedback on the toric and multifocal lenses was mixed, we continue to believe that these market segments will represent meaningful growth opportunities for Cooper in the coming years.