“I Got Some Work Done”: How the Normalization of Cosmetic Procedures will Create Opportunities in the Aesthetics Market

Charlotte Ross
The Inspired Team
February 9, 2024
“I Got Some Work Done”: How the Normalization of Cosmetic Procedures will Create Opportunities in the Aesthetics Market

Botox, facelifts, fillers - anything women did to improve their appearance with medical intervention - used to happen in secret, resulting in whisper circles around who got what done and where. Fast-forward to 2024, and getting botox is equivalent to getting a manicure. 

There are several reasons for this shift: 1) women are putting off marriage and families until their late 30s, and as a result, have more disposable income than ever before; 2) celebrities on social media are normalizing these procedures and making them seem “aspirational” to the average American; and 3) people are spending more time looking at themselves, whether it’s on Zoom, FaceTime or Instagram. 

According to The Economist, global sales of non-invasive aesthetic treatments, currently around $60B, could more than triple by 2030, with the majority of the growth coming from injectables. Looking at Botox alone - in many ways the “entrypoint” for other procedures - the growth is remarkable. 7.4M people in the US received Botox treatments in 2022, up from 4.4M in 2020 and $4.4B was spent on Botox in 2022, up from $2.3B in 2020. The average patient spends $536 per visit, and 65% of patients are repeat customers, making this a very expensive habit. From a market opportunity perspective, that’s what makes these behaviors so unique - getting Botox regularly is not the same as buying an expensive handbag or shoes. Once you start, it becomes very hard to stop because your appearance relies on these treatments. There aren’t many consumer behaviors with such a large price tag, such high frequency and such a long lifetime value.  

We believe there are three ways to capture value in this growing market, without building a brick-and-mortar presence:

  1. Shifting labor supply: While there has been some private equity consolidation (SkinSpirit, Ideal Image, Laser Away) and venture-backed chains (Everbody, Peachy, Alchemy43, Ject), most of the med spa market remains extremely fragmented, with 80% made up of individual doctors or aestheticians. The ability for people without an MD, namely, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and aestheticians, to perform these procedures opens up the supply side of the market to address the growing demand, particularly in non-coastal cities. A lot of these people are already burned out from their existing jobs in healthcare settings, and eager to make more money elsewhere. Software can ease the burden of starting a practice by handling compliance, insurance, marketing, customer acquisition, back-office functions and more. Portrait and Moxie are two examples of companies that are empowering these types of workers to own more of the economics themselves. Persimmon and Pinch are examples of labor marketplaces that are handling all of the logistics for workers and simply matching the supply with demand. We’re going to see more and more of this trend in healthcare, where the non-MD labor supply is going to be utilized in higher value ways.
  1. Patient engagement tools: After talking with several dermatologists and aestheticians, the number one request was a better way to communicate with their patients. These treatments require maintenance and repeated follow-up appointments to have lasting efficacy, and practitioners are leaving significant dollars on the table without having a way to remind patients that they are due for another visit. RepeatMD offers loyalty programs, personalized discount offers, memberships and text automation to improve retention and sell higher-margin services. Pomp provides aestheticians with a direct channel to connect with their clientele post-treatment by offering personalized products, thereby enabling additional opportunities for monetization. Rather than selling dozens of expensive creams and serums on-site, Pomp enables practitioners to have digital storefronts with each of their clients. 
  1. Better discovery platform, enhanced by AI: Imagine an AI platform that took a picture of your face, adjusted it based on potential procedures and suggested a local aesthetician to administer the treatment. While the treatments themselves have been normalized, where to go and who to see and how much it costs still remains opaque. There’s an opportunity to open up a segment of demand that is curious, but wants more transparency around providers, pricing and what they’ll ultimately look like on the other side. 

The overall growth of this market will be one of the biggest consumer trends of this decade, so if you are building something riding on this aesthetics wave, I’d love to hear from you! 

Shoot me an email at charlotte@inspiredcapital.com