- Zoom calls and pandemic lockdowns saw some consumers seek out beauty treatments to look their best on camera.
- Laser Clinics Australia performs about 3 million treatments per year across Australia and New Zealand.
- The biggest sales driver of cosmetic injectables is word of mouth, rather than social media influencers.
By Seamus Byrne
1. The Zoom boom in cosmetic surgery
Lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic has seen the growth of a phenomenon referred to as “Zoom face” or the “Zoom boom”. That’s where consumers, newly accustomed to seeing themselves up close on screen for hours each day, seek out beauty treatments to look their best on camera.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that 64% of its doctors had experienced an upsurge in virtual consultations as a result of COVID-19, with facial injectables the most popular treatments.
Mask wearing also factors into the trend as patients can cover up the after-effects of lip fillers or sagging jawlines.
While the craze has been attributed to an increase in video meetings, another reason for the trend may be the decline in international travel and dining, which has left many consumers with more cash in their wallets to spend on their appearance.
2. Cosmetic injectables go beyond Botox
Since Botox, whereby a small amount of botulinum neurotoxin is injected under the skin, first bounced onto the scene in 2002, the cosmetic injectable industry has developed a host of similar offerings – although the core process is the same.
With Botox, the paralytic effect has the positive impact of wrinkle reduction that can last many months. Having a less toxic effect are “fillers”, typically made from sugar molecules, collagens, biosynthetic polymers, or even transplanted from a patient’s own fat tissue.
Similar injectables are used to deliver lip enhancements, while non-invasive lip plumping can be performed with the active ingredient from chilli. One further cosmetic injectable is chin sculpting, which injects an acidic compound under the chin to dissolve fatty tissue and improve chin definition.
3. Australian beauty is thriving
Two Australian companies in the beauty sector have had great success during recent years. Laser Clinics Australia performs about 3 million treatments per year across Australia and New Zealand and in 2019 expanded its operations to the UK. It reportedly generated A$250 million in revenue in 2019.
Meanwhile, SILK Laser Clinics debuted on the ASX in December 2020 after “a record trading period” in the midst of the pandemic, according to The Australian Financial Review. Australian industry data projects a 20% rise in employment in “beauty therapist” roles from 2019-2024.
4. Influencers are not the path to beauty success
In a 2019 interview with The Australian Financial Review, the CEO of Laser Clinics Australia, Anthea Muir, said that while millennials were an important part of its business, social media influencers were not a big part of its marketing strategy. A much bigger sales driver was word of mouth among friends and family. Muir suggested customers were finding the influencer space increasingly lacking in authenticity.
5. Digital photo filters under pressure
Mental wellbeing has been front of mind for many individuals and corporations this year. In an effort to thwart the pressure to look flawless, American multinational Google has removed the use of default face retouching in selfie cameras on its Pixel phones. It has also removed “beauty” from its camera language.
“If you choose to use face retouching effects, you’ll see more information about how each setting is applied and what changes it makes to your image,” a Google spokesperson said.