Key Trends Driving the Medical Aesthetics Market: Insight from L.E.K. Consulting

In this interview, Adrienne Rivlin of L.E.K. Consulting explores key trends in medical aesthetics, highlighting consumer interest, innovation, medical spas, investment opportunities, and market resilience.

In this interview, Adrienne Rivlin, partner at L.E.K. Consulting, explores the key trends driving excitement in the medical aesthetics market. Adrienne highlights four primary factors: increasing consumer interest driven by reduced costs and stigma, innovation in products, the rise in medical spas and clinics, and investment opportunities. She discusses exciting areas like injectables and energy-based devices such as lasers. Dr Rivlin also addresses the sector’s resilience against economic challenges and emphasises the importance of customer experience, product quality, and effective marketing in building and retaining brand loyalty.

Interview Transcript:

[00:00:00] Lee Murray: Today I’m joined by Adrienne Rivlin, partner at L. E. K. Consulting. Adrienne, welcome. Thank you, nice to be here.

The medical aesthetics space is incredibly exciting at the moment on both the product and service side. What is driving this excitement in the market? You’re absolutely right. It is a sector that is attracting a huge amount of interest at the moment, and it is an exciting space to be in.

I think there are four key trends that are driving that excitement. Firstly, from the consumer side, I think there is increasing appetite to take part in these kinds of products and services driven by reducing costs. stigma in the space. And of course, discretionary spend as well. Secondly, I think that there has been an explosion in the types of innovative products that are increasingly accessible to the participants in this space.

Thirdly, we’ve also seen an increase in the availability of [00:01:00] medical spas and clinics. So that’s really broadening access to a much wider group of potential consumers. And then finally, I think the investors in this space have seen space have really seen that there are opportunities for consolidation in the sector and de novo growth, which has really been attracting inward investment and excitement as well.

So you alluded to a couple of them, but are there any specific examples of products and services which are particularly exciting to investors? There are a couple that I would probably be most drawn to. The first would be the injectable space. So by that I’m talking about toxins and fillers primarily.

[00:01:36] Adrienne Rivlin: There’s been quite a bit of innovation in this space, so you’re going to get a better technical outcome and also a better potential experience for customers as well. And then the second space I would maybe draw Your attention to would be in the space of electronic based energy based devices, excuse me which are the lasers.

Things like laser hair removal, which continue to be interesting, both to women and increasingly to men as well. [00:02:00] And you also mentioned earlier, the discretionary spend is an important driver here. But against a backdrop of such a challenging macroeconomic environment, which we’re hoping is showing the time, the signs of change, What are some of the, is that a risk that’s going to put a dampener on that growth and how would you recommend people mitigate that risk best? It’s a question that we get quite frequently and I understand why it seems like this sort of product or service that someone who is facing, a cost of living crisis or squeezes on their personal finances might think about cutting back first. But actually the evidence is quite interesting.

So what we’ve seen in some survey work that we’ve done is that really only about 30 percent of current customers in the aesthetics. space would actually reduce their spending in the event of a kind of more significant cost of living squeeze. And actually we’ve seen quite a lot of businesses trading well through the current economic uncertainty.

[00:03:00] When you look back in history and you look at what happened through the through the GFC, for example, similarly, you actually don’t see much impact in terms of things like injectables spend either. So it seems like it’s quite a resilient sector. At least historically it has been, of course we’ll see in the future, but it seems pretty resilient to me.

[00:03:17] Lee Murray: Okay, the true prioritization of it. And I think one of the other interesting aspects of the market is very low barriers of entry, huge levels of fragmentation. So competing on a brand perspective, on a quality perspective is paramount. For providers or investors building these platforms, what is critical in your perspective to building that brand and retaining that customer retention, so they’re not, flipping around the market to different providers for different services?

[00:03:47] Adrienne Rivlin: I think I’d point to two or three different things that I think are particularly important. So one is the experiential part of it, right? Consumers and customers do value a very solid, very good, [00:04:00] customer experience. And so they really do value that. So providers who were thinking about that in terms of their own clinic space are really thinking about how best to provide that experience top level experience to customers.

So that’s certainly so that’s certainly something, and that’s everything from the actual physical environment, the way that they’re greeted by the therapist, the way they’re treated by the therapists the follow-up that they might need and how that’s handled. So that’s the first thing. I think the second thing also is increasingly the quality of the products that are on offer.

There are now a very wide range of brands that are available, but still what is a demand from customers for certain brands that they particularly value because of perhaps the technical the technical quality of the product, the longevity of the product, the durability, et cetera. And then I think the final part really is more of a kind of a pull factor.

So a lot of these clinics and indeed the manufacturers have been more active in terms of the sales and marketing activities that they’ve been able to do. So they’ve been able to generate quite a lot [00:05:00] of demand for their products through the better, more sophisticated use of social media, for example, using influences and such like as well.

[00:05:09] Lee Murray: Fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective on the market as well. And I look forward to tracking it for the next few years too. Thank you. Thank you for having me.

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