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ANALYSIS | MARKET TRENDS | A MATTER OF LUXURY?


ANTI-AGEING MARKET:


THE


A US consumer survey indicates that anti-ageing cosmetic procedures are the province of the wealthy. Ashley Yeo suggests that this is too narrow a view


P


ASHLEY YEO, Principal Analyst, Informa Business Information


email ashley.yeo@ informa.com


12 ❚


LASTIC SURGERY AND cosmetic procedures have come a long way over the last 40 years. In the 1970s, cosmetic surgery was not perceived to be serious


medicine, and its practice was limited by the number of surgeons who could carry it out. Into the 1980s, cosmetic surgery was


breaking out of the aesthetic surgery circles and receiving greater credibility. It was shedding some of its major and unwarranted image issues. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) credits one of its founders, Thomas Baker, for helping to change attitudes and improve access to a hitherto largely unobtainable bank of procedures. It was wealthy individuals who drove


the early growth stages of the industry, but as societyÕs affluence and disposable wealth increased, little by little aesthetic medicine became more mainstream, and not just the province of the rich. Today, into the second decade of the


21st century, there are few, if any, restrictions on who can access anti-ageing medicine, though it remains for the most part privately funded. It has become


June 2012 | prime-journal.com


legitimate medicine surrounded by established training structures. The ASAPSÕ own records bear witness to the growing acceptance of cosmetic medicine over the years: its launch meeting in 1968 was attended by just 18 people; now over 2000 professionals fly in from 30 countries for a 6-day conference. It has truly become big business, and it


now meets the needs of a wide cross-section of users. That being so, some may take issue with recent comments from the CEO of the US Luxury Institute, Milton Pedraza, who likens the anti-ageing market to luxury retail.


Wealthy Americans 'Consumers who pay premium prices for É membership at an exclusive health club are the same consumers shopping for premium merchandise at places like Nordstrom,' he says. Marketing youth to the wealthy provides a rich opportunity to tap into a powerful set of demographics and psychographics that never goes away, he adds. Those sentiments may be true, but


ignore the progress made by an industry that now serves hundreds of thousands of implant clients globally, offers


It was


wealthy individuals who drove the early growth stages of the industry, but as societyÕs affluence and disposable wealth increased, aesthetic medicine became more mainstream.


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