COVID-19 Impact on Medical Aesthetics: Consumer Attitudes and Intent

COVID-19 Impact on Medical Aesthetics: Consumer Attitudes and Intent

768 1024 Tom Seery

Concerned consumers put procedures on hold due to COVID concerns, but a significantly higher number of them are ready and planning to move forward. People have concerns about getting sick and finances, which has some of them holding off on scheduling.

Since early April, our team has surveyed over 1,600 RealSelf community members about COVID-19 and how it affects their interest and likelihood to move forward with a cosmetic procedure.

I’ve shared many of our insights on LinkedIn, but I wanted to offer a more comprehensive overview of our findings. Within the sample set, 33% were only considering plastic cosmetic surgery, while the others were considering both surgical and minimally invasive cosmetic treatments.

Insight 1: Consumers continue (and never stopped) considering cosmetic procedures

RealSelf consumers have indicated an unwavering interest in having cosmetic procedures.

cosmetic procedure likely to undergo Covid-19

98% of our survey respondents told us, “I was considering a procedure and I still want to have one,” in all of our surveys fielded in April, as well as the most recent survey in mid-May 2020. Just 2% selected, “I am no longer open to having a cosmetic procedure in the future.”

Insight 2: Concerned consumers put procedures on hold due to COVID concerns, but a significantly higher number of them are ready/plan to move forward

Our May 14th community pulse survey (n=569) found that those saying aesthetic treatment plans are on hold dropped to below 50%. Those planning to move forward climbed up to 37% from a low of 19% in early April. Just 3% indicated that, due to COVID-19, they changed their minds about moving forward with a procedure they initially planned to have done.

Covid impact on cosmetic surgery or treatments intent

A small number of respondents (3%) shared that they were more likely to have a procedure due to a number of factors (note that answers are not exclusive—more than one could be selected):

  • 36% said they were off work or working from home, so had more time to recover
  • 27% were hoping for better appointment availability
  • 22% said being off work or working from home meant they had a more flexible schedule
  • 11% said they had more time to research now
  • A handful (< 5%) mentioned hoping for better pricing and deals
Insight 3: Household finances are a consistent barrier to moving forward with an aesthetic procedure

affordability cosmetic procedures covid

Our surveys have found, unsurprisingly, that declines in household income are being directly felt—or anticipated—by consumers inclined to get a cosmetic treatment. In our mid-May survey, 44% of respondents said that COVID-19 has resulted in lower household income. This level of impact was found dating back to surveys we fielded during the first week of April, suggesting that the medical aesthetics market faces strong economic headwinds as it recovers.


Insight 4:  25% of those who are holding off on cosmetic procedures are concerned about getting sick

In early April, consumers were concerned about getting sick. By late April, consumers couldn’t book due to providers’ offices being closed. In May, we’re hearing that consumers still have concerns about both getting sick and their finances, but due to offices being more widely open, they’re also more able to book.

cosmetic consumers fear sick with Covid Coronavirus

Insight 5: The majority of RealSelf survey respondents plan to move forward within the next 6 months

We asked our community members, “How soon after provider offices reopen do you plan to move forward with your cosmetic treatment?” Over time, the responses remained consistent:

Answer 4.29 




As soon as possible 26% 25%
One to three months 20% 14%
Three to six months 15% 14%
Six months or more 9% 13%
Not sure 27% 28%
Other 3% 5
Insight 6: RealSelf consumers are open to meeting a doctor in a virtual consultation

While consumers prefer the in-person consultation experience, they remain open and interested in having a virtual appointment with a doctor.

For those that prefer a virtual consultation, we asked: “What is the main reason you prefer a virtual consultation right now?” Here’s what we heard:

  • Fear of getting sick/personal safety concerns (COVID-19 concerns): 44%
  • Convenience/time savings: 46%
  • Cost savings: 3%
  • Not committed to procedure: 2%

Our team will continue to field pulse surveys of the RealSelf community, and I look forward to sharing any changes or new insights.

Tom Seery

I am an entrepreneur and CEO with a 20-year history of launching online products and growing digital marketplaces. While I am proud of being an invited speaker to over one-hundred podiums at medical conferences across the world, my passion is in blogging and sharing my insights, experiences and learnings in the Hey Seery podcast. I welcome new ideas and feedback @

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