Cosmetic surgery down 40% due to ‘climate of global fragility’

As predicted in a blog post concerning the potential effects of the EU referendum on elective surgery,  that I wrote in June 2016, BAAPS yesterday reported cosmetic surgery down 40% – dropping to its lowest numbers in almost a decade – for precisely the reason I suggested it would.

New data from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons… reveals that the number of cosmetic ops last year dropped 40% since reaching record-breaking heights in 2015.

Why? In the post announcing the 2016 results, BAAPS President Rajiv Grover explained:

“In a climate of global fragility, the public are less likely to spend on significant alterations and become more fiscally conservative, by and large opting for less costly non-surgical procedures such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion, rather than committing to more permanent changes.

For anyone who has studied how these markets work, the concept that people are less inclined to make significant life decisions when their confidence is low isn’t at all surprising.

As I wrote last year:

What suffers when consumer confidence is low? Big-ticket, discretionary items – like high investment retail sales, travel, housing sales, and of course, big-ticket private healthcare – like laser eye surgery, plastic surgery, and any other relatively high-priced elective procedure.

For evidence, I shared this chart I’ve been watching since 2001 that tracks US laser eye surgery procedures against the US Consumer Confidence Index:

Consumer confidence and LVC prodedures

What the BAAPS data for 2016 shows is that cosmetic surgery very positively correlates with consumer confidence (measured by the CCI). I was more pessimistic than I needed to be concerning where the CCI would eventually go. Just a month after the EU Referendum, YouGov tracked the CCI at 104.3 (a fall of nearly 10 points from the year before). Privately, I predicted the fall to continue below 100 as it had in the 2008 recession, which it did not. 104.3 was a low point, and the CCI then recovered somewhat and is now hovering at 110.3, “representing its biggest monthly increase since August and its highest level since September.

One can easily see the impact of the 52% of Britons choosing to leave the EU:

Consumer Confidence Index 10 years

Frankly, the CCI could have dropped much lower. For now, at least, the CCI seems to have roughly stabilised without falling below 100.

I’m not ready to make a prediction concerning where things go from here. Given the uncertain state of the world at this moment; however, I have no reason to be optimistic. One significant concern is the Trump administration’s plans to repeal substantial financial regulations on Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection (i.e., Dodd-Frank) that were put in place by President Obama in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

Should history repeat itself, the Trump administration will set the stage for a dramatic crash that rivals what we saw about a decade ago. Buckle up, friends; the brakes are – again – about to be removed from the car.

Maintaining a solid 5 step system for healthcare growth is critically important when consumer confidence goes down. Make sure you are working each of the 5 steps powerfully in order to engage and convert the prospects that are coming to you.


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Rod Solar

Founder & Scalable Business Advisor

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO for our customers. Rod mentors and coaches CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to double their sales, triple their profits, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

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Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK