Facing the Future
The Growth of Med Spas
Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
An "Attractive" Market
Whether it’s looking better for that selfie or primping for a Zoom call, consumers are looking to improve their appearance at an unprecedented rate. Beyond traditional drugstore makeup and cosmeceuticals, a growing number of people are choosing more invasive procedures that involve treatment by medical practitioners. These services, offered by a hybrid of a dermatology/plastic surgery clinic and a full-service salon or spa, are becoming known as "Med Spas."
There is no question that this market is on an upward trajectory, with anticipated acceleration in growth. Consumer spending on medical aesthetics is currently estimated at $25B and has been growing on a compounded basis at 10-12% per year since 2017. By 2027, the market is projected to reach $40B.1 Further reinforcing market strength, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows skin-care specialist jobs are expected to grow 17% by 2030, exceeding job growth in other categories.
While consumer trends have featured age-defying products and procedures for some time, recent developments have propelled interest in cosmetic improvement, including:
- The "Zoom Effect": Consumers are now spending an average of 8 hours per week "on-camera" in virtual meetings with close ups of every facial feature and flaw. A recent study of remote workers in early 2021 found that 40.6% of participants who had not previously undergone facial cosmetic treatments were now planning to, thanks to the "Zoom effect."2 Due in part to this, facial treatments accounted for over 45% of the market share in 2022.3
- Social Media: In addition to virtual meetings, TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms encourage image-centric media and photos to be shared. These posts are often examined closely by users, increasing the sensitivity to one's appearance on those platforms.
- Millennial Men: Newer to the market, the average man spends more in this category monthly than women ($1,800 USD compared to $1,044 USD).4
New Procedures and Technologies Generating Buzz and Demand
Feeding the increased demand for aesthetic services is the development and promotion of new treatment options based on scientific developments and new technologies. Lifestyle brand websites, fashion magazines, and social media feeds are full of the latest beauty trends and age defying techniques used by celebrities and influencers. Currently, the highest demand services include:
- Laser Hair Removal
- Neuromodulators (Botox®, Dysport®, Xeomin®)
- Dermal Fillers
- Microdermabrasion & HydraFacial®
- CoolSculpting (Cryolipolysis)
- Laser tattoo removal
- Chemical peels
- Kybella® (Injection lipolysis)
Given the nature of many of these services, specialized equipment and trained practitioners are required to perform the procedures, placing them beyond traditional spa services.
Funding the Growth
"It's been coming for years…" stated Viper Founder, David C. Branch, "…Med Spas are highly profitable with multiple recurring revenue streams offering fee for service with huge scale opportunities."
Recognizing the growing demand and strong market characteristics, private equity investors have poured money into the Med Spa sector. It is estimated that $3.1 billion in capital has been placed across 400 aesthetics clinics and care center transactions in the past five years. In addition to the strong growth of services, several factors make this market particularly attractive to investors:
- Fragmented Market: According to the 2022 Medical Spa State of the Industry Report, 90% of medical spas are owned independently, making it ripe for consolidation.5
- Frequency: Many of the services offered have repeat visitation patterns as a routine or multiple treatments to achieve results.
- Diversified Product Lines: Multiple product lines provide diversified revenue streams.
- Profitability: Med Spas are usually highly profitable.
- Equity Opportunities: Medical providers can take an equity stake in some of the practices in addition to their buyouts. Private equity capital provides much more growth opportunity and stronger marketing and customer acquisition resources than an independent practice can muster.
- Out-of-Pocket Payments: Most Med Spa services are not insured, so it is out of pocket for consumers, reducing reimbursement risk or insurance payor coverage risk.
As the industry consolidates, some key multi-unit practices are starting to emerge, flush with investment from private equity groups, and eyeing national expansion. These include:
The Race for Scale
To take advantage of this exciting opportunity, brands in the Med Spa market will need to optimize for scale, facing intense competition for key providers, practices, locations, and staff. It would not be surprising to see major existing players in the retail and salon industries enter the business as well to leverage skills and locations for rapid expansion. This is truly a business that combines the clinical aspects of a medical practice with the experience and characteristics of a retail business. In fact, skincare and beauty product retailing is an important component to a profitable Med Spa. It will be important for the leadership of these brands to recognize this and not default to traditional healthcare thinking and behaviors. First mover advantages will be great for the brands that are able to establish an early market foothold and gain patronage and mindshare with key consumers.
Why WD Partners
WD Partners is extraordinarily suited to assisting in this market opportunity. Our decades of experience assisting some of the largest retail brands in the world combined with our innovative practice in health and wellness bring a unique combination of expertise to programs of this nature. Our skills in innovating new concepts, optimizing those concepts for scale, and rapidly scaling multi-unit rollout programs nationally and internationally, provides immense capabilities to achieve growth goals in the Med Spa space. If you’d like to discuss more with our Health + Wellness Practice, please contact Dan Stanek at email@example.com or Kate Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about how WD can help innovate and scale your practice and then talk with our Health and Wellness practice leader, Dan Stanek, to get started.