Our wager for 2020 word of the year? Unprecedented.
Other major events in past decades have demanded our collective attention and stirred our anxieties, but were nonetheless localized in their most life-altering impacts. By contrast, the coronavirus outbreak and its effects are unique in that they are impacting hundreds of millions of people in drastic ways, all at once.
It’s a time when lessons from the past about how to react are certainly useful—we pulled some together here—but we also know that it’s important to track how people are reacting to these specific circumstances.
Our team recently polled aesthetic consumers to get an initial take on what their thought processes and intentions are in terms of undergoing aesthetic procedures. This situation is unfolding fast and in sometimes-unpredictable ways, and we should expect these attitudes to evolve with time, but it’s important at this relatively early moment in this crisis to take stock of how consumers currently say they plan to behave. Here’s what we’re hearing so far.
The Vast Majority of Consumers Have Not Changed Plans to Have a Procedure
We asked consumers whether they currently plan to undergo an aesthetic procedure. More than nine out of ten said they still intend to have a procedure done, including nearly 80% who said they were considering surgical procedures.
While coronavirus and the social restrictions that have followed have shifted people’s priorities and restricted their movements, by and large it hasn’t altered their intent to have a procedure done.
But Coronavirus is Understandably Affecting Their Timing
Of the one-third of consumers who said coronavirus outbreaks made it less likely they would have a procedure, two in three respondents said they were putting their procedure on hold until “things get back to normal.” Additionally:
- Around one-third of consumers who said coronavirus made having a procedure less likely had concerns about getting sick, and a similar proportion wanted to hold off until they were more financially stable.
- A quarter of respondents said other things now took priority over having a procedure done.
There’s a Strong Baseline of Interest in Virtual Appointments
We asked consumers whether they would be interested in having a virtual appointment with an aesthetic provider, and nearly 60% told us they were “very” or “somewhat” interested.
What remains to be seen is whether this situation itself continues to increase consumers’ openness to consulting virtually with doctors. From education about what a virtual procedure is like and how to prepare for one, to more prominent callouts from doctors on social media and their RealSelf profiles that they are available to take virtual appointments at this time—might we see even greater interest in virtual appointments over time as a matter of necessity, availability, and a shift towards virtual experiences in general?
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Related: Visit RealSelf University for a multi-part education module, Virtual Appointments: We’re Not Closed!
And More Consumers Than Not Said They Would Consider Paying for One—Although Not By Much
Nearly half of survey respondents reported that they would be willing to pay $50 for a virtual appointment. A slightly smaller proportion, 45%, said they would not.
Doctors who have strong pipelines of virtual appointments at this time might consider charging a fee for a medical consultation. Those who have a lighter volume of virtual appointment signups should consider prioritizing building that pipeline over charging a fee.
How are you responding?
We’re in this together. Tell us how your practice is adapting in the wake of COVID-19 so that we can share best practices with everyone.