Looking at 2015 alone, there was a real change emerging in the beauty research. Our patient demographics are becoming much more ethnically diversified and so in Aesthetic Medicine regional borders are blurring. Over the last decade, we have seen various treatments that started in certain continents develop a huge worldwide demand. For instance, masseter muscle (jaw) slimming that started in Asia, advanced body contouring from Brazil and European mid-facial volumisation are now commonplace treatments that I see requested around the world.
So we must question, what is happening to the markets to influence this blending of borders and demand for treatments? Census data can assist our understanding of the movement of people between countries. 191 million of the world's inhabitants have lived in countries in which they were not born. In China and India, numbers of their population living abroad has doubled over the last decade. When assessing the Middle East, 84% of the population of the United Arab Emirates are foreign born.
We are extremely fortunate that the UK has the most diverse immigrant nation in the world as this gives us the opportunity as practitioners to up-skill our abilities to serve a global community. The latest net migration statistics show that in the year ending December 2015, net migration to the UK was 333,000. More British citizens leave the country than arrive. EU net migration is currently 184,000 compared to 188,000 from outside the EU. The United States has the largest aggregate population of migrants of any country and China has the world's lowest population of migrants as a percentage of its population.
Census data helps us to quantify that increased numbers of consumers are living abroad. However, when studying the medical tourism market, a growing number of people are travelling abroad for procedures. Furthermore, the top specialty for medical travellers is Cosmetic Surgery. The world population is ageing and becoming more affluent at rates that surpass the availability of quality healthcare resources. The market is noted to have immense growth potential in numerous emerging economies, as a rising number of countries are striving to become top exporters of medical services. It is estimated that the medical tourism market of many countries is growing at a rate of 15-25%. Top destinations emerging as prominent centres are Thailand, Costa Rica, South Korea, the Phillippines and Mexico. Consumers are travelling internationally for multiple reasons, including affordability and geographical proximity. Interestingly however, a reason for destination driven Cosmetic Surgery Tourism is the perceived specialisation of certain beauty trends. Consumers are choosing specific countries as they believe they are the most specialised in their particular beauty goal. The significant increase of people living and working abroad, along with the growing medical tourism market is resulting in the rapid evolution of our practice in Aesthetics.
If we focus primarily on motivating factors for women seeking our help, we see that women around the world want to take control of how they look. They are becoming far more aware of the options available to them through our services. In a market research study of 7700 women worldwide, 74% of women make an effort to look good for themselves, 37% do so for their partners and only 15% for their friends. Does this counter the old myth that "women dress to impress other women?"
In developing countries, the women's liberation movement is becoming more powerful through education, equality and freedom of information. As such, this inspires previously oppressed women to act upon the choices that freedom provides. They can now exercise choice to control their ageing and evolve their appearance in different ways, through new scientific frontiers.
A woman's external image has always been in the spotlight, albeit wanted or unwanted. Trends of ideal body weights, shapes and facial beauty may have shifted over the decades but ultimately many women feel that they are still judged by their external appearance. The anti-ageing improvements that many of the media celebrities have chosen to take have had a profound effect on how women perceive themselves at large. Before the advent of such subtle anti-ageing procedures, beautiful celebrities were seen to age in either a "normal" way or a "surgically-enhanced" way. This meant that women had a more reasonable reference point of ageing for their chronological age. However, many celebrities are not only looking younger than their age but more importantly, better than their age.
But how does this impact psychologically on how women around the world define beauty?
Look out for my blog post next week to find out more!