For more than a year now, a global health crisis has forced lockdowns in countries all around the world. And plenty of industries have suffered from it. But there’s one industry that’s been bucking the trend, and it’s one you’d least expect: the medical aesthetics and plastic surgery industry.
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Of course, things didn't start that way. Early on, businesses in the sector faced a wave of appointment cancellations. Some patients were afraid of coming in for in-person treatments. Others saw a drop in income that forced them to reconsider their discretionary spending. The situation appeared quite grim.
But then a strange thing happened. As people began working from home, they started spending hours at a time participating in group video chats and meetings. For many, it was the longest they'd ever spent looking at themselves. And they didn't like what they saw.
Here's an overview of how the current global situation transformed from a challenge to a growth catalyst for businesses in the medical aesthetics and plastic surgery industry – and why there's reason to believe that's going to continue.
A Zoom-Driven Boom
At the beginning of 2020, the world was struggling to adapt to a new normal. And a big part of that revolved around finding ways to work effectively from home. So it wasn't long before workers everywhere started to extoll the virtues of remote work.
There were several reasons workers commonly cited for their newfound love of working from home. One was the sudden lack of a lengthy and arduous commute. Another was the ability to get more done with fewer interruptions from colleagues. But the one thing about working from home that everyone seemed to enjoy was the lack of a strict dress code.
But informality has a price. As the hours spent on Zoom calls and meetings increased, some people started to notice things about themselves they'd previously overlooked. Perhaps it was due to their dressed-down appearance. Or maybe it was the lighting. Either way, the digital mirror created by Zoom made people begin to wonder if their appearance needed an upgrade.
A Global Phenomenon
The result was a surge in interest in cosmetic surgery and related procedures. This genuinely translated into a 10% increase in procedures for medical aesthetics and plastic surgery businesses in the US. In Italy, clinics reported a record 15% year-over-year increase. And in France, business increased by an astounding 20%.
All around the globe, people who had never considered getting a cosmetic procedure started to warm to the idea. Without the need to go out in public frequently, they felt more at ease with getting through the recovery process. And because many had extra money due to the savings generated by working from home, they were able to act on their impulse.
And according to Dr. Tom Bell of Toronto Plastic Surgeons, the clientele and their preferences changed, as well. "In the last year, we've seen an increase in the number of men seeking treatments. The female to male ratio went from somewhere near ten to one down to around four to one. And now the most popular procedures are things like brow lifts and facial implants. It's clear that people are more focused on their facial features, because that's what they're spending all day looking at."
A Continuing Trend
Although it's natural to assume that a boom created by a once-in-a-generation (hopefully) situation won't have staying power, some factors suggest otherwise. One is the fact that it appears that working from home isn't going to end anytime soon. A recent survey by Global Workplace Analytics found that two-thirds of workers wish to continue the practice. And a full 36% of them would choose the continued ability to work from home over a pay raise.
And in a labor market that remains tight, it stands to reason that businesses will have little recourse but to give workers what they want. That means the very thing driving the growth of the medical aesthetics and plastic surgery industry is no longer a temporary measure. That alone should ensure that the present trend will continue. But it's not the only reason to believe that.
Another is the shifting underlying demographics of the industry's customers. According to statistics compiled by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the age of the average patient has now fallen to around 37 years old. Not coincidentally, the oldest of the millennial generation turns 38 this year, which means they're likely to begin turning up in cosmetic surgery clinics in greater numbers right about now.
When you combine those factors with an already decreasing stigmatization surrounding cosmetic surgeries and non-surgical cosmetic procedures, you start to see the makings of a long-term trend rather than a mere blip on the radar.
All of this adds up to a simple conclusion. It's that now is an excellent time to own or operate a business in the medical aesthetics and plastic surgery industry. And it's also an excellent time to start one. According to the latest market projections, the industry is set to see a compound annual growth rate of 10.9 percent through 2025.
And it's quite possible that those estimates haven't priced in the effects of the trends identified here. There aren't many industries emerging from the present situation in such good shape – so don't be too surprised to see businesses in this sector ending up with balance sheets that look as good or better than their patients in the months and years to come.