The pandemic rocked the global economy in ways that will be felt for years to come. Some industries like food service struggled just to stay afloat. Meanwhile, other industries like telecom thrived.
However, one of the most unexpected booms we've seen has come from the plastic surgery industry. A recent survey of North American plastic surgeons revealed that 70% saw an increase in business during the pandemic, and 90% of those respondents saw an increase of more than 10%.
Experts are predicting that this uptick may be a sign that we have seen a societal shift in attitudes that may have changed the industry forever.
The End of the Plastic Surgery Stigma
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recently polled 1000 people that had never had any sort of plastic surgery. Almost 50% of respondents said that they were interested in getting their first-ever plastic surgery. On the other hand, a similar survey from 2014 shows that only 17% were in favour of plastic surgery and 49% were flatly against the idea. This is obviously a huge shift in general attitudes, and experts are pointing to the lockdown and the emergence of daily video calls as significant change agents.
"Everyone is locked up and locked down. Then we're being forced onto daily Zoom meetings and we hate how we look on webcam," said Dr. Stephen Mulholland, one of the leading experts on facial surgery and breast augmentation surgery in Toronto.
"People wonder when they started looking so old. They see their parents in that little image at the bottom of the screen, even though they're only in their 40s."
This has led to, what many in the industry are calling, The Zoom Boom for plastic surgeons, as 83% of surveyed plastic surgeons attributed their recent growth to customers wanting to look better on Zoom calls.
Recover From Home
Most of the North American workforce suddenly found themselves working from home over the pandemic, while leading companies like Shopify and Twitter have completely revisited their work-from-home policies for good.
Working from home creates a unique opportunity for someone to get a plastic surgery and then recover discreetly from home while working from home. They may only miss a day or two for the actual surgery, as opposed to having to book a week or more of vacation days in the previous 9-5 in-office lifestyle.
At the same time, patients that were previously considering a non-surgical procedure like Botox may now go all-in and get a surgical facelift because the downtime is no longer a consideration.
The trends currently dominating the plastic surgery market are not expected to dissipate any time soon. The industry was already seeing a change as more Millennials entered their late 30s and 40s. They were the first generation to have a truly liberal and destigmatized attitude towards plastic surgery. At the same time, they are also under more pressure to look good to appear on social media, while procedures are more accessible than ever.
The year 2020 saw plastic surgery go from maligned and misunderstood to mainstream and marketable. And this is not expected to change in the coming years.