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    Marketing health care products: the contact lens market.

    Exter T

    [Unpublished] 1988. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 21-23, 1988. 7, [8] p.

    The contact lens market is a good example of a "health care product" market that is strongly affected by demographic trends. In the US, according to a 1986 survey by the Simmons Market Research Bureau, 57% of all persons 18 or over wear eyeglasses and/or contact lenses. The absolute number of contact lens users increased from 12.7 million in 1982 to 22.9 million in 1986. Most contact lens wearers are young -- between 18 and 29. 11% of men and 15% of women are contact lens wearers. Among people under 45 with a college education 21% wear contacts as opposed to 13% of those who never attended college. However, among college-educated persons 45 and over only 11% are more likely to wear contacts than noncollege people. Thus in terms of demographic breakdown by age, sex and education, contact lens wear is highest among young college-educated women. Analysis of current demographic segments in the contact lens market can provide data for estimating future trends, such as, e.g., from which segments of the population the next 1000 customers will come. Assuming constant penetration rates and constant growth rates for the 3 segments, 71% of the new users will be under 45. If the under 45 group grows 3.68%, but the over 45 segment grows 6.75%, only 52% of the new customers will be under 45; 29% will come from the under 45 college-educated segment, 28% from the over 45 noncollege segment, and 23% from the under 45 noncollege segment. Among women, youth is a more important determinant than education or choosing contact lenses. Thus demographic data can be used to understand and segment a market.
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