This publication presents results, in respect of the 1997-98 financial year, from Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) surveys of private sector optometrists and businesses involved in the provision of optometry and optical dispensing services. These were the first ABS surveys of this industry.
The first survey was a sample of private practice optometrists. Results of that survey are presented in section 2 of this publication. The second survey was of private practice optometry and optical dispensing businesses. Results from the second survey are presented in section 1 of this publication.
SECTION 1: OPTOMETRY AND OPTICAL DISPENSING INDUSTRY
This section of the publication presents results in respect of 1997-98 from a sample survey of optometry and optical dispensing businesses.
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS
The activities of businesses in the industry vary considerably. The majority (60%) of businesses in the industry provide both optometry and optical dispensing services. However, a significant proportion (25%) of businesses only provide optometry services while 15% of businesses only provide optical dispensing services.
At the end of June 1998, there were 1,557 optometry and optical dispensing businesses in the industry. These businesses provided their services from 3,036 locations, 2,196 in capital cities and 840 in non-capital city areas. The majority (58%) of these businesses were unincorporated businesses, i.e. sole proprietorships or partnerships.
During 1997-98, businesses in the optometry and optical dispensing industry generated total income of $818 million. The sale of optical goods ($653 million) and fee for optometry services ($150 million) represented 80% and 18% respectively of the industry income.
Total expenses incurred by the businesses in the optometry and optical dispensing industry were $733 million. The major components of this expenditure were the purchase of optical goods ($253 million) and labour costs ($223 million).
The industry recorded an operating profit before tax of $89 million for 1997-98, which represented an operating profit margin of 10.9%.
At the end of June 1998, employment in the optometry and optical dispensing industry was 8,915 persons. The 2,702 optometrists and 2,448 optical dispensers accounted for 58% of industry employment.
Generally, the distribution of industry employment and income in optometry and optical dispensing businesses in each State and Territory corresponded with the respective State and Territory proportions of the Australian population.
The majority (53%) of businesses operated with a single optometrist or optical dispenser. These small businesses accounted for 18% of industry employment and 14% of income in the industry during 1997-98. In comparison, while there were only 140 businesses (9% of all businesses) employing 5 or more optometrists and/or optical dispensers, these businesses accounted for 51% of industry employment and 59% of industry income.