Inflation in the UK is expected to exceed 18% in January 2023, according to the financial services group Citi. With spiralling inflation swallowing pay rises, experts expect the biggest hike in living costs in 40 years. If the trend continues, inflation will have a profound impact on all aspects of daily life, including body aesthetics.
Inflation causes consumers to slash spending on nonessential purchases, which includes beauty and personal care. Purchasing power is reduced so people have no choice but to stick to essentials, the cost of which is also increasing. This also forces many small businesses to close. Travel and entertainment do not qualify as essential expenses. Therefore, heading to another country for cosmetic surgery is improbable.
Inflation also affects our savings as much as our spending. Over time, a family’s £1000 stashed away for a rainy day will lose value. So, if you’re saving for a future expense (a cosmetic procedure, for instance), those savings won’t be enough as the delay itself will cost you.
Kagan Seymenoglu, the CEO of Longevita, a leading cosmetic surgery and hair transplantation provider in the UK, predicts that the UK aesthetics business as well as medical travel in general may be negatively affected.
“Energy and food inflation, i.e. the cost of basic necessities, is likely to make it harder for people to allocate money to discretionary spending like aesthetics, especially during the winter months (research indicates that 45 million people, or 9 out of 10 households with children, will struggle).”
Therefore, to cope with inflation and stay within budget, buying behaviours may change significantly. Beauty can become a luxury that not everyone can afford. And while people choose to travel to other countries for cheaper plastic surgeries, it may not be in the cards anymore because rising energy prices may make flights more expensive.
“It is expected that medical travel may be affected by fuel inflation, which is reflected in flight prices, as well as other travel costs and hotel accommodations.
People will continue to desire beauty, boost their self-esteem, and compete in terms of their external appearance, but their budgets might not permit them to afford treatment.”
It’s true that despite inflation during the pandemic, the beauty industry continued to thrive. However, it was due to a variable that is now out of the equation.
“The aesthetic industry has so far remained unaffected by the pandemic due to furloughs, which enabled people to maintain their incomes even when they weren’t working. This led to no restrictions on aesthetic budget allocations.”
Now, even with employment on the rise, the wages themselves aren’t keeping up with inflation, so people are expected to cut back on their purchases of beauty services.
With energy bills skyrocketing and living costs at their highest in 40 years, the UK is bracing for a tough winter. Covid furloughs have helped maintain UK purchasing power, which, in turn, propped up the beauty industry. However, now furloughs of the same size are not viable, and inflation may also negatively impact the beauty sector.