COVID-19  Impact on Aesthetic Procedures in Healthcare Industry

COVID-19 Impact on Aesthetic Procedures in Healthcare Industry

  • Healthcare
  • Dec 07, 2020

COVID-19  Impact on Aesthetic Procedures in Healthcare Industry

INTRODUCTION

The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced numerous parts of life, not just in terms of fatality but also social distancing approaches and self-quarantine. Both these safety approaches have shown a change in a person's interest in aesthetics in general. Other adverse impacts might be monetary (change in spending needs, loss of work or different types of revenue), health-related (center around different parts of health, dread of transmission in a medical office), or social (positive changes in close to home appearance, changes in relationship status, unfit to go on vacation). As the pandemic develops, these variables may contribute contrastingly over the long run, molding the bend of changing public interest in aesthetic procedures.

Numerous aesthetic procedures, including breast implantation, lipoplasty, and cosmetic dental procedures, are impacted negatively because of the Covid-19 crisis. The below figure shows the total number of top five cosmetic procedures performed in 2019.

Figure 1: Number of top five cosmetic procedures performed in 2019

Number of top five cosmetic procedures performed in 2019

As the focus on COVID-19 patients became pivotal, the non-urgent medical procedures have taken a back seat. Several medical clinics have delayed or dropped numerous elective surgeries, particularly those considered to be non-urgent. For instance, National Health Service medical clinics in the UK have suspended all aesthetic medical procedures for a certain period.

On similar lines, the U.S. government and the American College of Surgeons have encouraged the nation's emergency clinics and centers to defer aesthetic procedures unless they are deemed medically necessary.

The types of aesthetic surgeries vary significantly across different age groups. The below table shows the most common aesthetic procedures across other age groups in the year 2019:

Table 1: Most common types of aesthetic surgeries by age groups

Age Group

Aesthetic Surgery Type

17 and under

Liposuction

18-34

Breast Augmentation

35-50

Breast Augmentation

51-64

Liposuction

65+

Eyelid Surgery

(Blepharoplasty)

Studies show that 70% to 100% of all aesthetic procedures have been deferred in the U.S., delayed, or dropped because of the pandemic. The markets associated with aesthetic procedures such as implants, injectables, bariatric medical procedures, and similar products will be highly impacted since they do not influence any medical conditions or are crucially beneficial for one’s health. The number of aesthetic procedures is expected to gain pace once the number of COVID-19 confirmations starts to decline.

However, customers are eager to adopt aesthetic procedures evident from the favorable response from places that are opened with appropriate safety measures and limitations since the reopening of aesthetic clinics, salons, and spas in England on 13 July (albeit with no facial treatments permitted at that time). For instance, in England, patients are returning to the treatments after the government postponed facial treatments until 15 August. The surge in the number of facial treatments was particularly observed from patients who had previously booked and were desperate to return after the imposed lockdown.

The pandemic way of life also impacts the demand for aesthetic procedures. It is observed that an increase in video conferencing and calls, longer durations of self-reflection, and increased exposure to digital technology has impacted the way people are approaching aesthetic procedures post-lockdown. This is termed as the “Zoom effect” and is being compared with the phenomenon of increased techniques affected by social media advertising, endorsements from influencers, and increased awareness of aesthetic procedures. Interested consumers started researching the types of possible treatments, and the availability of services increased as well. In addition to the ‘Zoom effect,’ other factors contributing to the demand landscape include a sense of freedom after lockdown, self-reflection during the lockdown, concern over second wave lockdown, and preparation for returning to work, amongst other factors. The need for wearing a mask is also a contributing factor as it helps in hiding any post-treatment effects.

The simplest of less time-intensive procedures such as injectable procedures are expected to gain momentum with the relaxing of social distancing measures. The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is undeniable on the medical aesthetics industry. However, the demand will come on track slowly. The industry focuses on a post-pandemic scenario of the consumer expectation that is more resilient and innovative than the pre-pandemic scenario. The aesthetic procedure providers aim to understand the difference in consumer sentiments with and without the impact of COVID-19. Several studies suggest that the number of individuals interested in undergoing aesthetic procedures will surge once the pandemic seems under control. The boom of minimally invasive and non-invasive treatments in recent years is expected to play a significant role in recovering the market. These procedures are more affordable than conventional approaches, and the options have increased over time ranging from injectable to laser treatments. These procedures serve the purpose of surgical aesthetic procedures without the necessity of surgical intervention. The availability of these options during a financial crisis is expected to increase customer attention leading to higher sales. Moreover, the increasing number of patient financing choices has made all kinds of aesthetic procedures accessible post-pandemic. As the daily routines of consumers normalize, the demand for aesthetic procedures will resume.

The pandemic has shown the entire world the benefits of technology adoption. Since the onset of the pandemic, more and more companies are adopting digital tools and techniques to maintain operations continuity while following social distancing. Digital tools and techniques have become crucial in maintaining customer relationships as they are not facing to face anymore. The usage of telemedicine has accelerated manifolds by physicians and patients. Digital technology is also playing a role in the continuity of equipment and product providers' operations for communicating with aesthetic surgery practices. Digital tools are being used for lead generation, product advertising, as well as increasing loyalty. Several companies are also using digital technology to conduct educational webinars with aesthetic magazines to raise awareness amongst consumers. The pandemic has modified the way of communicating with staff as well. These digital technologies are playing an essential role in maintaining a presence among consumers during COVID-19.

After the normal operations of aesthetic procedures resume, a mandatory COVID-19 test might be required in the future to avail of any kind of services. Despite coronavirus diagnostic test type, if patients are needed to go through pre-procedure testing, the location of acquiring the sample and the logistic of safe and effective sample submission to the lab is additionally essential to talk about. The plastic surgery practices can either do swab tests for patients on the off chance that they have the best possible tools or refer them to screening centers. Referring patients for preoperative screening tests requires coordination between the center, patient, and patient's surgical timetable. Moreover, most aesthetic surgery customers might be asymptomatic for COVID-19, and many walk-in centres may not lead to routine testing for asymptomatic patients. Subsequently, a reference or solicitation for asymptomatic testing might be needed by the referring doctor for the patient. Also, the waiting time for the test results can be any time from 45 min to a few days, increasing patient uneasiness while anticipating developments regardless of whether they are asymptomatic. Another factor to consider is isolation. Both the asymptomatic patients and plastic surgery practice employees (after required fortnightly COVID-19 testing) should be quarantined while anticipating their outcomes until surgery (for patients) to diminish the danger of transmission.

It is also observed that there is a shift of consumers towards lifestyle products across different industries. This has also impacted the aesthetic industry. Consumers are looking for procedures that enhance their lifestyle and do not serve a singular purpose. For instance, the demand for facial reconstruction procedures following a vehicle accident, to purely cosmetic work, such as removing frown lines or plumping of the skin, has become the norm. Moreover, these procedures are not limited to medical practitioners but have spread across spas, beauty shops, gymnasiums, casinos, and other advertising and even service provision locations. However, these channels need medical licensing to provide the nonelective procedures for which demand is likely to remain less volatile during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to meet the new demands of the market, several companies are working on innovations to continue business during the pandemic. The products and services developed by these companies help in sparking interest in aesthetic procedures among customers as well as address the current needs of the business. However, there is risk associated with this pandemic due to the overall economic slowdown because of the pandemic.

CONCLUSION

With the reduction in consumer income due to the loss of jobs and businesses' slowdown, the aesthetic procedure industry is expected to take time to rebound. It is believed that the market will bounce back in 2021 at a slow pace. As the number of aesthetic procedures increases with the normalizing demand amongst consumers, it will become pivotal for aesthetic practitioners to take necessary measures to ensure the following safety guidelines to avoid further infection. Moreover, the usage of digital tools will increase to minimize direct contact between individuals.

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