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Vision Expo East Sees more Millennials and Conference Attendees

Early reports indicate that more than 22,000 visitors gathered for the industry’s premier event from over 90 countries. Trends this year were more millennial and conference attendance.

Over 33 percent of the attendees were millennials, including more than 700 students and members of the Young Professionals Club who attended courses ranging from the “New Technology Rapid Fire” clinical session to “Future Business Trends Happening Now” in the Business Solutions track.

According to Tom Loughran, group vice president, Reed Exhibitions, millennial interest and activity foreshadow the direction in which eyewear and eye care professionals and businesses are headed. “The millennial population learns, communicates and operates in new ways and businesses need to consider this,” said Loughran. “We are in the middle of a digital movement that is captivating to all generations, in an evolution of our overall marketing and customer experience strategies.”

Education and conference attendance was up by 400 attendees, says Loughran citing new and innovative, non-ophthalmic program content. One of the most attended events was the new Global Contact Lens Forum, “The Global Contact Lens Forum, which was the day before the show, offering six hours of free continuing education was extremely successful with 270 attendees. The contact lens companies are very happy with the result because they don’t normally get that type of attendance in their sessions.”

The largest show change this year was a move for streamlining, requested by companies and attendees. The popular Galleria and Underground Pavilions were relocated to Level 3, creating a high-fashion hub for buying activity. “Vision Expo has been working hard to create a show that is great for the attendees; to make it easy for them to navigate. They buy big company frames and they buy small company frames, so it makes it easy for them to navigate. I have been getting positive feedback from the attendees that they appreciate that and they like the show navigation better. So we are always here for them,” said Ray Khalil, president of Lafont USA.

Loughran says while over all show floor attendance numbers are down slightly from last year, buying was robust. He believes bad weather brought fewer numbers, “ I think that what you’ve seen in the north east especially not only has it been cold but the snow has been a major factor. Opticians who own optical stores and independent optometrists have had to close their doors a lot more in January and February than they have previously. So we were down slightly, but for the most part the people who came here were the buyers and decision makers and they cut back on people who don’t have decision making authority.”

The size of the show floor grew by a few thousand square feet to include 25 new exhibitors this year. The biggest growth area in booth demand according to Loughran was in boutique frames.

International Vision Expo & Conference conducts a detailed, third-party audit of attendance at International Vision Expo East. Verified figures will be available in May. Vision Expo East returns to the Javits Center in April 2016 (Education: April 14-17, Exhibition: April 15-17.).

For more information visit: www.VisionExpoEast.com.

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