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Cosmetic Surgery Interest in UK Soars During Lockdown

Posted Sep 14, 2020

by Emily Waddell

PR Manager and Health Researcher

In our latest study, Qunomedical has discovered that the interest in cosmetic surgery and a few other treatments has exploded in the UK during lockdown. 

Even celebrities like Jimmy Carr have been using the privacy of lockdown to get some work done. Using Google Trends, we explored the search traffic of popular cosmetic surgeries and the popularity of those during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Findings:

  • The most popular time for cosmetic surgery Google searches is usually in January and February in a ‘normal’ year, with interest dipping after that but remaining stable for the rest of the year.

  • There was a large drop on searches for most treatments during the height of the pandemic

  • Surprisingly, in July and August, there was record growth in search terms relating to cosmetic surgery and other treatments, making 2020 an unusually popular year for surgery.

  • Cosmetic Surgery, Veneers, Nose Job, Weight Loss Surgery all reached an all-time high in late August 

  • Breast Augmentation, Liposuction are still climbing 

  • Medical treatments abroad like Veneers Abroad have also climbed rapidly recently

  • Searches have dipped again in September possibly due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the UK and increased lockdown measures.

Top 5 Cities Googling ‘Plastic Surgery’ in the Past 12 Months

Top Treatments Booked via Qunomedical (March-August) During Lockdown

Cosmetic Surgery Treatments Growing in Popularity During Lockdown

Cosmetic surgery

Search term: ‘Cosmetic surgery’ Time period: 12 months

In the graph above we can see that ‘cosmetic surgery’ has gone through peaks and troughs UK residents tend to search for it most often in January. But, in August 2020, and September, cosmetic surgery will have hit an all-time peak in searches.

Rhinoplasty

Search term: ‘Rhinoplasty' Time period: 12 months

In 2020 we saw the expected peak of ‘rhinoplasty’ (nose job) searches in January/February. But, in August Google saw record searches from UK residents.

📈 Rising Search: The search for ‘how much does a rhinoplasty cost’ increased by 400% compared to 2019.

Breast Augmentation

Search term: ‘Breast augmentation’ Time period: 12 months Breast augmentation in 2020 has been relatively low with a slight peak in January as expected. However, we can see there was a big uplift in August after a sharp drop when lockdown started. 📈 Rising Search: ‘Natural breast augmentation’ which refers to a fat transfer breast augmentation as opposed to implants, has increased 300% since 2019.

Veneers

Search term: ‘Veneers’ Time period: 12 months Veneers are an increasingly popular dental treatment but have pretty low search popularity outside of the peak January season. In August, Katie Price showed the world her pre-veneers teeth, and popularity around the treatment rose massively. While most were shocked by the veneers process, the search ‘veneers price’ also rose by 100% this year compared to last.  The search ‘veneers turkey’ also increased dramatically during this period, perhaps thanks to Katie getting her veneers fitted in the country that’s so popular for cosmetic and dental surgery, due to its cheap prices and high-quality controls.

Liposuction

Search term: ‘Liposuction’ Time period: 12 months Liposuction didn’t have the usual uplift in January, in fact, May and June were both all-time peaks of UK residents Googling the term in the past 12 months. 📈 Rising Search: ‘Liposuction for men’ increased 190% from the previous year.

Gastric Sleeve

Search term: ‘Gastric sleeve’ Time period: 12 months While a gastric sleeve isn’t cosmetic surgery, the popularity of it has increased massively during the lockdown. With the search being performed in August 2020 more than any time throughout the year. 📈 Rising Search: ‘Gastric sleeve turkey’ increased by 250% compared to last year, indicating that UK residents are looking abroad for medical treatment more than they usually were.

Why is Cosmetic Surgery Popular During Lockdown?

There are a number of explanations as to why cosmetic surgery has become so popular to research during the lockdown. 

  • Privacy - Increased privacy due to working from home. Easy to research without being worried about other people looking at your screen.

  • Working From Home - If you do decide to have a treatment, recuperating at home without missing too much work is easy thanks to working from home policies.

  • Less Socialising - Recovering from surgery can cause embarrassment for some people, lockdown means you’re less likely to socialise so you can recover until you’re happy to see other people.

  • More Holiday - Getting a doctor’s note for elective surgery can be tricky in the UK, thanks to British politeness most people won’t even try. Due to travel issues, it’s likely people have more holiday than expected, giving them more time to recover.

  • Time for Self-Reflection and Self-Care - With the slow-down of events in people’s day-to-day, many used the time to think about fundamental things in their life like happiness, confidence, and relationships. 

We asked Qunomedical CEO and founder, Dr. Sophie Chung, what she thought of the popularity of cosmetic surgery during the lockdown. 

“During the lockdown in the UK, it’s not surprising that cosmetic surgery has become such a hot topic to search in Google. More free time means that people have had more time to think about how they can improve their confidence and wellbeing. Being out of the public eye, a few celebrities have taken the opportunity to have treatments and some have even been open about it. This has helped to break the stigma that can exist around plastic surgery. Qunomedical has also seen a surge in interest in surgery abroad during lockdown as more people are discovering they can get the same high-quality treatment for a lower price and more privacy away from home”

Methodology

All graphs and search information was obtained via Google Trends data as of 14th September. Qunomedical data is from March-August 2020.