No one short of Michael Crichton in one of his books could have predicted this past year in any part of life. COVID-19 made it a year to forget. This certainly was true for aesthetic practices, as everyone had to be closed for basically the back half of the winter and most of spring.
The good news? Patients had money to burn, as they were unable to dine out, travel, and spend much money. So, they could afford more treatments when practices began reopening in the late spring.
What about the New Year? In this first blog of 2021, let’s go through what many industry professionals are expecting for this year. These trends are courtesy of the American Association of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery (AAAMS).
More available staff
The AAAMS said there had been a trend of staff rapidly changing jobs, rather than staying at one practice. For practices, this created problems with continuity and with these staff members really learning various non-invasive treatments.
But many practices have closed due to the pandemic, so that has increased the talent pool. This should make it easier to find good, qualified staff, and the economic uncertainty we are all experiencing should make them more apt to stay put at your practice.
While the pandemic has ravaged much of the economy, there was a bright side for aesthetic practices: patients who didn’t lose their jobs or simply transitioned to working from home had lots of accumulated savings that they could spend on aesthetic treatments and procedures. That fueled a burst of activity for some practices when they were able to reopen.
But for many potential and current patients, the economic turmoil has taken a major toll. They may have lost their job or had their income seriously cut. As things improve with the newly approved vaccines, most of these people should be able to restore their situation moving forward, but there will remain a level of financial trepidation.
This combination could have two effects on payments at aesthetic practices. Patients with built-up cash will be able pay in full in advance. But for those who’ve suffered a setback, practices will need to have CareCredit to help patients spread out payments over time, without interest.
No one expects any change in the number one cosmetic treatment — Botox and the growing list of neuromodulators will again be the most popular treatments worldwide. This has been the case every year since Botox debuted in the U.S. in 2002.
The AAAMS thinks a new trend is beginning, however, where the starting age when patients come in for neuromodulator injections is dropping. This is a concept of preventive wrinkle care. These patients will increasingly start these injections when they are in their 20s and 30s.
Expanding treatments for all skin tones
Beyond the virus, 2020 was a year of overdue reckoning in race relations in this country. For aesthetic practices, that will mean a need for widening focus on including patients with all skin tones and skin types. The time has come for wider offerings of treatments that don’t have hyperpigmentation as a side effect for patients with darker skin tones.
Plus, the AAAMS predicts that treatment offerings will embrace the different images of beauty that better reflect the diversity of this country.
Continuing growth of non-invasive treatments
There will always be a market for surgical procedures. After all, the first nose surgery was done in 1887, the first facelift in 1916. That’s quite a track record for longevity. But this year, patients were not able to have surgery for much of the year, as elective procedures were put on hold while everyone tried to get a handle on the number of virus cases that would occupy hospital beds. This returned to normal, but there are certainly some patients who stayed away fearing the virus.
Regardless, there has been an ongoing trend toward more non-invasive procedures. The AAAMS calls this “enhancement, not alteration.” Laser skin rejuvenation can tighten skin, reduce wrinkles, and improve tone and texture without any sutures or recovery. The continuing addition of more and more procedures that seek to trigger the body’s wound-healing response in the dermis points to growing demand.
If there is one guarantee despite the gloom of 2020, it’s that people will continue to want aesthetic surgery and other treatments in 2021 and beyond. The medical aesthetics market is predicted to grow by $5 to $6 billion in the next five years, climbing from $9.4 billion in 2020 to approximately $16 billion in 2025. This is according to data from the Aesthetic Medicine and Cosmetic Surgery Market.
Are you going to be ready for these trends moving forward? We’ll make sure your digital presence and marketing is. At Advice Media, we’ve been helping medical practices create and manage their digital world for over two decades. Call us or fill out a contact form, and let’s get started helping your practice grow through these turbulent times.