Desktop version

Home arrow Language & Literature

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font


<<   CONTENTS   >>

Cosmetic Surgery - Current State of the Market

Reflecting a worldwide trend, the UK cosmetic surgery industry has grown substantially since 2003 (see Table 2.1 )2. Accompanying this growth in the number of procedures, the value of the cosmetic surgery market increased from £l28.3m in 1993 to an estimated £3.6bn in 2015 (BAAPS 2014; Gallagher 2014).

As Table 2.1 illustrates, the industry expanded significantly between 2003 and 2006; however, this growth has slowed down in more recent years. What is more, in 2014 and 2016 there appears to be a decrease in the number of procedures compared to 2013 and 2015. However, the apparent ‘boom’ in procedures in 2013 may be misleading; as Rajiv Grover, former president of BAAPS, has noted, the 2013 figures “[were] inflated by the 2012 PIP crisis3 and a large number of people need[ing] to have implants replaced” (in Gallagher 2015).

The number of cosmetic surgery procedures increased between 2014 and 2015, which, according to Grover, can be attributed to the destigmatisation and increased acceptance of cosmetic enhancements and an overall improvement in the British economy (BAAPS 2016). Interestingly,

Table 2.1 Bi-annual change in the number of cosmetic surgery procedures in the UK between 2003 and 2018, based on figures released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS)

2003

200S

2007

2009

2011

2013

201S

2017

2018

Number of procedures

10,700

22,000

32,400

36,400

43,069

50,122

51,140

28,315

28,347

as illustrated in the BAAPS (2015) annual review of the cosmetic surgery market, the desired outcome of cosmetic procedures has also changed over the past couple of years. As Michael Cadier, former president of BAAPS, has noted, patients are increasingly opting for a “natural”, “refreshed” look “rather than more conspicuous alterations” (BAAPS 2015). Market research provider Mintel anticipated this development in its 2006 cosmetic surgery report, as it highlighted the industry’s emphasis on ‘subtle enhancements’ rather than ‘drastic transformations’.

The increase in the number of procedures witnessed across 2014 and 2015 has not persisted; rather, the “bust boom [has] bust[ed]” (BAAPS 2017), as 2016 had the lowest number of cosmetic surgery procedures performed in a decade. In an attempt to explain the fall in popularity of cosmetic surgery procedures, BAAPS (2018) has pointed to a “climate of global unrest” which has affected consumer spending. Moreover, the expansion of non-surgical treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and Botox injections have had a detrimental effect on the cosmetic surgery market (also see Chapter 5). It is important to note here that BAAPS does not collect data related to these non-invasive, non- surgical procedures so they are not included in the statistics in Tables 2.1 and 2.2. As the non-surgical market is expanding rapidly, this disregard may be limiting.

Although BAAPS provides a clear indication of the number of cosmetic surgery procedures performed per year, it is important to recognise some crucial shortcomings of the BAAPS statistics. For example, as Holliday and Cairnie (2007) have pointed out in their discussion of men’s consumption of cosmetic surgery, BAAPS only collects data from its members; however, not all cosmetic practitioners in the UK are BAAPS members. Moreover, although BAAPS provides information on the relative number of men and women undergoing cosmetic surgery (see Table 2.2), this data may not be accurate as not all cosmetic surgery procedures are incorporated in the BAAPS statistics. Crucially, various types of surgery that are popular amongst men - e.g. hair restoration procedures4 - are not included in the BAAPS overview of the industry.

Although various authors have condemned the ‘exclusion’ of data on hair restoration procedures in the BAAPS statistics (cf. Holliday & Cairnie 2007), the absence may be explained in light of the (surprising) non-surgical status of hair restoration surgery. In an interview with Dr Greg Williams, president of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery (BAHRS), Williams clarified, “hair restoration surgery [is] not included with other cosmetic surgical procedures overseen by the Royal College of Surgeons since many hair transplant surgeons in the UK and around the world don’t have a surgical qualification”5. Rather than requiring a surgical qualification, the BAHRS emphasises training in the field of hair restoration techniques. As hair restoration procedures are not regulated by the Royal College of Surgeons, it is hard to determine the exact number of procedures that are carried out each year. Moreover, Dr

Table 2.2 Relative proportion of men and women undergoing cosmetic surgery between 2011 and 2018

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Men

10%

9%

9%

9%

9%

8%

9%

8%

Women

90%

91%

91%

91%

91%

92%

91%

92%

Williams noted that many clinics offering hair restoration procedures do not want to share data due to the competitiveness of the market.

Alongside the overall growth in the number of surgical/non-surgical cosmetic procedures over the past 15 years, there has been an increasing sense of uneasiness towards the cosmetic surgery market. As will be illustrated in the next section, the representation of procedures in the media and the industry’s marketing techniques in particular have been criticised.

 
<<   CONTENTS   >>

Related topics