Aesthetic Investment: Spending More Despite Economic Strain

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2022 wasn’t exactly an easy year for the economy. With high inflation hitting everyone, everywhere, all at once, it might surprise you to learn that the aesthetic industry actually experienced growth. According to the Aesthetic Society’s most recent data, the industry experienced a 14% jump in the total number of procedures and treatments last year, showing a commitment among consumers despite economic pressures like increasing grocery costs and high gas prices.

What’s Driving Growth in the Aesthetic Industry?

Like most things, there are a few reasons.

Firstly, a lot of consumers have been interested in noninvasive treatments. Despite a dip in this year’s number of surgeries, noninvasive treatments had a great year in 2022, with 23% growth. That was enough to carry the whole aesthetic industry into a year of growth.

Fresno, CA dermatologist Kathleen Behr, MD notes that a surge in aesthetic skin treatments has seen patients shift towards more inexpensive treatments. “A lot of these procedures are a little bit less expensive than body contouring, like CoolSculpting or EmSculpt,” Dr. Behr explains. “Those are a little bit more expensive.”

That said, it’s also important to consider that there are people who benefited economically in recent years, and those people are spending a lot of money on themselves.

According to Campbell, CA plastic surgeon Kamakshi R. Zeidler, MD, her patients have the disposable income after COVID to invest both noninvasive and surgical treatments. “I practice in Silicon Valley, so the younger millennial population in my community is in a good financial position, particularly coming out of COVID, because they kept the whole world going and connected,” Dr. Zeidler explains. “And we’re seeing that this group of people in their late 20s, early 30s, want to invest in themselves, even over things or objects.”

What’s Next?

Despite a year of positive growth overall, the slow down in surgeries has many forecasting a further slowdown in the aesthetic industry.

Tucson, AZ plastic surgeon Raman Mahabir, MD explains that while we worked from home, we had the opportunity to take more downtime. “People had the time to recover from these procedures because they were working from home,” Dr. Mahabir explains. “That turns a tummy tuck into a few days of rest and then back to work, as opposed to having to stay home for a few weeks.”

But a return to work in-office has slowed down all that growth.

“People are now going back to the office,” Dr. Mahabir says. “And they can’t hide these procedures the way they could at home. So, the numbers have begun to slow down.”

While 2022 certainly saw slower growth than the COVID-related boom in the aesthetic industry, the overall trend is likely to remain positive, with steady growth overtime.

“I doubt this slow down will dip below pre-COVID levels,” Dr. Mahabir explains. “I think if you look at the trend overtime, you’ll see a constant, steady increase in interest in cosmetic surgery. The pandemic was a surprising blip up, as many people who would have gotten surgeries over a period of years got them all done at once.”

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