Scott McLennan


What do people really want?

It’s a leading question definitely, but I will keep it to the aesthetic market place, and the wonderful world of anti-ageing.

Over time our understandings, our technologies, our products and our skills have changed, but the one desire to look younger, to feel better, to portray the image of who we feel on the inside on the outside hasn’t changed in centuries.

The ancients searched for the fountain of youth, ancient Greek, Roman, Aztec, Egyptians all looked for topical solutions to apply to help keep the younger… And in today’s world we aren’t very different.

The anti-Ageing market is a whopping  $60 billion dollar market where $25 billion is spent on procedures, $ 5 billion on spa treatments, $30 billion on over the counter (OTC) beauty products worldwide. There is an estimated 77,000 cosmetic injectors in the world (Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, Nurses, Cosmetic/Appearance medicine Physicians) and growing day by day.

Who is driving the market?

Essentially it is the baby boomer market, or rather the beauty boomer market. This group of People has the financial abilities, the knowledge sources and a definite willpower to overcome ageing…. Continuing to look young.

Google analytics states that this market is defined as the 46-65 year olds.

  • 76% are comfortable with their age
  • 52%feel younger than their actual age
  • 99% of boomer decisions are made using Google. 
  • TV is the trigger to research – so they see something on the TV and then they will research it on-line 
  • Boomers rely on search engines and manufacturers websites to provide them with the information they need about the various products/procedures. 
  • Videos are a huge aspect of meeting the knowledge quest for information and product/treatment reviews and stories relating to procedure. 
  • 85% of today’s patients are female, who are generally big brand lovers and are considered to be heavy social media users. 

But what do they really want?

Over the past 5 years several surveys have been undertaken to try and establish what patients really want when they are seeking out options. There are slight variations when it comes to different cultural requirements, but essentially the results have only strengthened the opinions and views posed 5 years ago. More recently I conducted a further survey with over 1000 respondents and the results are inline with the findings as well. 

  • People want to portray on the outside what they feel on the inside 
  • People want to look better
  • People want to look natural
  • People don’t want to look over done

The primary goal people have when looking at a cosmetic procedure is:

  • To feel better about their appearance   30.8%
  • To look better    23.1%
  • To look younger     15.4%
  • To look more refreshed    23.1%
  • To look less tired    7.7%

Top non-surgical procedures in 2011 as reported by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

  1. Toxins
  2. Dermal injectables
  3. Chemical Peel
  4. Laser Hair removal
  5. Microdermabraision

Top surgical procedures in 2011 as reported by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

  1. Breast augmentation
  2. Rhinoplasty
  3. Liposuction
  4. Blepharoplasty
  5. Facelift

People have highlighted the following as their most important concerns when considering a medical aesthetic procedure are?

  1. Looking natural   64.3%
  2. Potential complications   42.9% 
  3. Not looking natural    28.6%
  4. Cost   28.6%
  5. After care service   7.1% 

What makes good customer service for patients?

  • Over 80% of respondents want consistent practice and good results
  • Over 75% want professional and courteous staff
  • Versus 13% of people base their decisions on price


When a patient sits down in front of a clinician – providing a solution to these real needs can be a very complex and interesting dilemma that all clinicians face across the world, and one that gets more and more complex the more variables clinicians are faced with including but not limited to;

·       Trying to address what a patient thinks they need, versus what they actually want and can afford;

  • The technologies and their claims versus their abilities and real time clinical evidence;
  • The understandings the Ageing process, the racial and cultural differences;
  • The raft of trends published in the media and
  • Financial affordability of the procedure.

It is truly a complex minefield of possibilities.

As we march forward in what is an eternal and growing quest for youth (in its various forms) we must always remember that we didn’t age overnight, we didn’t become who we are today simply waking up one morning and looking in the mirror and scream – oh my god I’m old. There are a range of aspects and causes to our appearance that need to be understood and then addressed separately and as part of a holistic approach if we are to truly meet what today’s patient is demanding, and what the research has overwhelmingly underlined over the past 5 years at least.

Clinicians should approach the patient with reverence, with grace and poise, and with respect. Treat the cause of the wrinkles, the volume loss, the lines, rather than just the symptoms. Work with your patients so they can start to feel younger, feel more rejuvenated and ultimately address what the survey’s inform us of what they are looking for, not we want to give them.

Don’t just make people look pretty, help people to feel better about their appearance, help people to feel more confidence in themselves and then we help people achieve what they really want.  


Scott McLennan




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