Is something a bit on the large side, or maybe a bit small? Are areas starting to sag or to show too many lines? If this is the case and you are thinking of taking action, then you are certainly not alone. According to latest forecasts from MINTEL British adults will be heading to the cosmetic surgeon at least a million times a year by 2009. And in their quest for perfection they will fork out a nip and a tuck away from £1 billion (£912m). Indeed, cosmetic surgery is set to become so widely accepted, that by next year alone spend on procedures will overtake spend on the traditional British cuppa (£659m vs £610m).
New research from MINTEL, in conjunction with the BAAPS and the Harley Medical Group** finds that British consumers will undergo an estimated 690,000 cosmetic surgery procedures this year alone. This is an uplifting increase of 40% on the 493,000 carried out last year and up some 240% on 2001 figures. What is more, this year Britain is set to shell out £539 million on various cosmetic enhancements, ballooning 50% on 2005 figures and more than four times (338% increase) what was spent in 2001.
"Acceptance of cosmetic surgery is growing within the British psyche, which is reflected in the increasing number of cosmetic surgery procedures being carried out in this country. Exposure to and desensitising of cosmetic surgery through television coverage and the popularity of procedures amongst celebrities has invariably played a key role. In addition to this, new technology continues to reduce the level of invasive surgery and the amount of time and healing needed for recovery. With further medical developments offering easier access to cosmetic treatments and as the ‘mystique’ factor lessens, the market will invariably attract new customers. Factor in our obsession with celebrity and our endless pursuit of the ‘perfect’ look, future prospects are sound, " explains Jenny Catlin, senior market analyst at MINTEL.
Boom or Bust?
The British are still playing things safe with non-surgical procedures, such as Botox and chemical peels, proving most popular with 85% of the market, equating to an impressive 415,000 procedures last year. When it comes to surgical procedures face and neck surgery was a cut above the rest as there were as many as 30,000 face and neck operations in 2005 alone. However, the fastest growing sector was breast augmentation, with the number of enhancements having grown some 150% between 2003 and 2005, rising from 10,000 to 26,000.
Last year face and neck surgery accounted for the greatest percentage of sales (30%), with procedures costing a total of some £108 million. Breast surgery followed close behind with £100 million. Non-surgical treatments (£83m), lower abdominal operations (£47m) and other procedures, such as ear and vein operations, (£21m) made up the rest of the market.
"Facial surgery continues to attract the greatest spend, as the face is not only the key focal point of appearance and judgment, but is also typically the primary victim of the ageing process. Developments in laser technology mean that faster and more painless lasers can be used in facial rejuvenation, as well as for breaking down fat and cellulite. Face-lifts in particular look set to offer a wealth of options, none of which are as drastic as traditional surgery, with these advances likely to persuade more women and men to have what will become a modest procedure in personal care," comments Jenny Catlin.
Beauty is only skin deep
While just 2% of the British population have been under the knife, a further one in six (16%) would consider having some form of cosmetic surgery - and not all of them are women. While women (23%) are still significantly more likely to consider taking the plunge, one in ten men (9%) would also consider having plastic surgery.
According to MINTEL's exclusive consumer research 'cost' (35%) is the most likely factor to put people off having surgery done, suggesting that should these procedures become cheaper, surgery may well become a consideration for this group as well. In actual fact, only three in ten (28%) adults disagree with surgery in principle. The outcome of surgery going wrong (25%), fearing the danger to life (22%) or believing it is not worth it (21%) make up the remaining top five reasons not to have surgery. Meanwhile, the main reasons for having surgery are to prevent signs of ageing (34%), closely followed by repairing damage or disfigurement after an accident (33%).
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