First consumer survey by Medicard Finance identifies trends in decision-making
According to findings of a recent online survey conducted by Medicard(R) Finance Inc. and Plastic Surgery Statistics Canada (PLSS), Canadians that have had a cosmetic surgical procedure believe they have adequately researched their options, have checked the credentials of the physician or practitioner, are aware of the risks and would consider obtaining more than one opinion before undertaking a procedure.
The survey – the third wave of research conducted by Medicard and PLSS – is the company’s first to directly poll consumers about their attitudes
towards cosmetic enhancement including both surgical and non-surgical procedures. Participants were drawn from industry-related consumer and trade shows across Canada, with more than 2,000 sent an email link to the survey in September 2007. Seventy-five per cent responded; 97 per cent were female between 19 and 73 years of age, with an average age of 44 years.
Are Canadians adequately researching their options?
Canadians feel confident in their decision-making process about cosmetic enhancement. The survey reveals that 80 per cent of respondents would research their options before making any decision. Of those who have not had a procedure, 72 per cent would not hesitate to seek cosmetic enhancement if they did not like something about their appearance.
“With the focus on training and credentials of practitioners within the cosmetic enhancement industry now, one would expect consumers to research their options,” says Ann Kaplan, president and CEO of Medicard Finance Inc.
“My concern is how consumers are doing their research and if they know the questions to ask. The industry needs to encourage consumers to understand the necessary questions to ask in order to make good decisions.”
Are we doing enough research?
The survey findings support Kaplan’s concern. Of those surveyed, 86 per cent sometimes or frequently watch reality TV shows involving cosmetic
enhancement and 23 per cent often discuss cosmetic enhancement procedures with their friends. Interestingly, of those who do talk with friends or peers, 47 per cent believe peer opinion is not an important factor when making decisions regarding cosmetic enhancement procedures.
When asked, consumers cited the following methods of information gathering when researching cosmetic enhancement: the doctor’s office, magazine articles, the Internet and reality TV.
Who is doing the procedures?
Canadians had strong opinions about “doing their homework” when it came to choosing a physician, with 80 per cent claiming they always check the credentials of the physician or practitioner. Their decision about who performs a procedure is also influenced by both media (62 per cent) and the quality of the facility (93 per cent) – whether an office, clinic or hospital.
Interestingly, 75 per cent of people consider the price of a treatment a factor, while only 10 per cent do not. A strong number of consumers look to friends for a recommendation or referral (59 per cent), yet despite the influences of peers and the public, 79 per cent of respondents state they
would get more than one opinion before making a final decision. Seventy-seven per cent would select a physician versus a non-licensed physician, even if the alternative practitioner was experienced.
Of the respondents surveyed, 20 per cent have had some type of cosmetic surgery and 33.3 per cent have had a non-surgical procedure. Only 7.5 per cent were not familiar with cosmetic enhancement procedures at all. Canadian physicians are perceived as doing their job well, according to consumers.
Ninety-one per cent said they were informed of the risks before a cosmetic surgery procedure; following the procedure 79 per cent were generally satisfied with the care they received. More than half (56 per cent) were satisfied with the results of the procedure itself.
Attitudes toward aging and cosmetic enhancement
Seventy per cent of consumers are “concerned” about aging while 33 per cent admit they actually feel “self-conscious” about the effects of
aging. More than half of respondents are concerned about the loss of volume in their faces.
This is mirrored in the open attitudes consumers now exhibit towards cosmetic enhancement. Seventy-two per cent would not hesitate to seek some type of cosmetic enhancement to change something they did not like about their appearance and a further 46 per cent would consider surgery to change something about their appearance. The majority of consumers (51 per cent) would treat wrinkles, versus 30 per cent who stated they wouldn’t.
What are the barriers?
Given the openness of consumers toward embracing cosmetic enhancement to deal with aging and one’s appearance, what are the barriers that hold them back?
The Medicard and PLSS survey reveals the primary factors of consideration are results, safety, costs, recovery time and pain. Fear of the unknown is a factor for most consumers, with 78 per cent admitting if they knew they would be guaranteed good results, they would be more comfortable with a procedure.
Equally, 76 per cent said if they knew the procedure was safe, they would consider it while 74 per cent would consider some (or more) cosmetic enhancement if cost was not an issue. Recovery time (57 per cent) and pain (53 per cent) round out the barriers consumers face when weighing their options.
Enough is enough?
With cosmetic enhancement consistently making the headlines, everyone has an opinion, yet it appears divided. Of those surveyed, 40 per cent felt people should “go for it” while 40 per cent believe too many people are getting cosmetic enhancement procedures. Only 19 per cent believe one should age without cosmetic enhancement.
“Our survey results show that on the whole, Canadians are increasingly interested in cosmetic enhancement procedures and believe they are adequately doing their research and checking credentials beforehand,” says Kaplan.
“Consumers should seek more than one opinion, research a physician’s credentials thoroughly and understand what those credentials mean. Seek out specialists and request patient testimonials.” She adds, “Our ultimate goal should be to provide enough information so that people can consider all of the factors in order to make an informed decision.”
About Medicard Finance Inc.
Medicard Finance Inc. is Canada’s number one exclusive medical procedure finance company, headquartered in Toronto. Formed in 1996, it provides health-related financing packages, information and services to Canadians for elective medical procedures. It is offered in more than 4,950 physicians’ practices across Canada and more than 60 per cent of loans are directed to cosmetic enhancement procedures. Employing a staff of 32, Medicard has processed more than 200,000 credit applications to-date and has established itself as an industry innovator. Plastic Surgery Statistics Canada is a subsidiary of Medicard Finance Inc. and was created in 2004 to provide a measurement of the growth of cosmetic enhancement in Canada. Prior, the industry relied solely on American statistics. PLSS does not incorporate paid advertising or physician endorsement. For more information, go to www.medicard.com orwww.plasticsurgerystatistics.com.
Demographics of respondents
Average age: Range from 19 to 73 years
Average age of respondent: 44 years
Gender: 97 per cent female
Marital Status: 49 per cent married or common law,
36 per cent single, 15 per cent dating (committed but not married)
Highest Level of Education: 60 per cent associates or bachelor degree, 8 per cent post-graduate education
Income: 23 per cent at $43,000 per annum, 12 per cent of respondents
have an average income of $28,000 per annum and 6 per cent make over $115,000 each year
How do Canadians research their options?
Research options before making decisions about cosmetic enhancement
80 per cent research their options
15 per cent never do
Discuss cosmetic enhancement with friends
23 per cent speak all the time
14 per cent never do
Watch reality TV shows
70 per cent sometimes watch shows
16 per cent frequently watch reality TV shows involving cosmetic enhancement
14 per cent never do
Sources of information about cosmetic enhancement
The doctor’s office
Peer opinion is important
47 per cent disagree
22 per cent agree
Choosing a physician or medical practitioner
93 per cent of people believe the quality of the facility
(office, clinic, hospital) is important
80 per cent of people who have had treatments always check the credentials of those treating them
79 per cent of people would get more than one opinion before making a decision
77 per cent of people prefer a physician to treat them, even if the person offering services is experienced
75 per cent of people shop on price
10 per cent do not consider price as an important factor in making a decision
62 per cent of people say their decision is influenced by what they see in the media
59 per cent of people look to a friend for recommendations or referrals
15 per cent look more to experience of a practitioner
About respondents and cosmetic enhancement
20.35 per cent have had some type of cosmetic surgery
33.33 per cent have had some type of non-surgical cosmetic treatment
91 per cent of the people who have had treatments say they were
informed of risks
9 per cent of people were not informed of risks
79 per cent were generally satisfied with the care they received
following a procedure
8 per cent were not satisfied with follow-up care
56 per cent of people that have had procedures were
satisfied with results
22 per cent of people were not satisfied with their outcome
Percentage that would not hesitate to change something they did not like in their appearance
72 per cent
Percentage concerned about the effects of aging
70 per cent are concerned about aging
5 per cent were not concerned at all
33 per cent are self-conscious
20 per cent are not self-conscious
Percentage that would consider surgery to change something in their appearance
46 per cent would consider surgery
13 per cent would not consider surgery
Percentage concerned about facial volume loss
58 per cent are concerned about facial volume loss
22 per cent are not concerned about facial volume loss
Percentage that would consider cosmetic enhancement to treat wrinkles
51 per cent would treat their wrinkles
30 per cent would not treat wrinkles
78 per cent of people are concerned about outcome and if they were guaranteed a good result, they would be more comfortable considering cosmetic enhancement
76 per cent of people said that if they knew a procedure was safe, they would consider cosmetic enhancement
74 per cent of people said that if cost were not an issue, they would consider (some or more) cosmetic enhancement
57 per cent of people consider the recovery time an important factor in considering cosmetic enhancement
53 per cent of people said that if pain were not an issue, they would consider (some or more) cosmetic enhancement
3 per cent were not concerned about pain
Attitudes towards cosmetic enhancement
40 per cent believe too many people are choosing
cosmetic enhancement treatments
22 per cent do not feel too many people are choosing
40 per cent feel people should “go for it”
19 per cent feel that people should age without cosmetic enhancement
Note: Survey findings are available upon request at www.medicard.com or www.plasticsurgerystatistics.com.