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The Rise of Non-Surgical Cosmetic Procedures: China’s Booming Beauty Industry

ChinaThe Rise of Non-Surgical Cosmetic Procedures: China's Booming Beauty Industry

The demand for non-surgical cosmetic procedures is on the rise in China, leading to the rapid development of related medical devices. So-Young, a Nasdaq-listed Chinese medical aesthetics platform, reported that the number of cosmetic surgery consumers in China exceeded 20 million at the end of 2021, more than three times the number in 2017. This substantial growth highlights a significant shift in consumer preferences towards non-surgical procedures.

In addition to the rise in cosmetic surgery consumers, the number of non-surgical cosmetic procedure consumers also continued to grow. The percentage of consumers who preferred non-surgical procedures in China increased from 72.6 percent in 2019 to 83.1 percent in 2021, indicating a clear preference for non-invasive methods.

Market research firm Frost & Sullivan reported that China’s non-surgical cosmetic procedure sector experienced a growth rate of 26.4 percent in 2021. This is higher than the growth rate of surgical cosmetic procedures, which was only 17.9 percent. These statistics suggest that non-surgical procedures are becoming increasingly popular among Chinese consumers, driving growth in the non-surgical cosmetic procedure sector.

The rise of non-surgical cosmetic treatments is fueling the growth of the medical devices sector in China, with consumers increasingly focused on risk prevention. According to So-Young, many beauty salons are transitioning into non-surgical cosmetic treatment providers, with social media playing a significant role in changing consumer perceptions.

Hu Xuan, an analyst in medical devices at VBData.cn, noted that non-surgical cosmetic treatments are gaining in popularity, with high potential for explosive growth. These procedures offer advantages such as minimal trauma, quick recovery times, and reduced risk, making them particularly appealing to young consumers.

Moreover, as more innovative medical device companies enter the market, there has been progress in research and development, as well as commercialization. The increasing number of domestic innovative enterprises has brought more high-quality products and solutions to the industry, breaking the trend of an absolute monopoly of imported brands, according to Hu.

In recent years, the growth rate of non-surgical cosmetic procedures has outpaced that of surgical cosmetic procedures in China. As demand for these treatments continues to surge, there is great potential for further innovation and growth in the medical devices sector.

The regulatory environment for non-surgical cosmetic devices in China is gradually improving. In 2022, the National Medical Products Administration issued a list of types of medical devices that are not allowed for toll manufacturing, a practice in which one company provides raw materials to a third party who will then provide the rest of the manufacturing. This list helps to ensure that medical devices are safe and reliable.

As a result of the improving regulatory environment, related medical devices have garnered increasing attention from the capital market. According to data from VBData, more than 50 venture capital or private equity institutions invested in non-surgical cosmetic devices in 2022. The growing investment shows the high growth potential and attractiveness of the non-surgical cosmetic device market in China.

Non-surgical cosmetic devices use laser, radio frequency, ultrasound, and other energy forms to solve problems at different layers of the skin. Despite China starting relatively late in the sector, the market is dominated by foreign brands such as Cynosure, Candela, Alma, Lumenis, and Fotona. However, more domestic innovative enterprises are emerging, offering high-quality products and solutions that break the trend of an absolute monopoly of imported brands.

In recent years, domestic manufacturers of non-surgical cosmetic devices have made great strides in research and development and commercialization, driving the development of the industry. Moreover, with an increasing number of younger consumers showing interest in non-surgical cosmetic procedures, the market’s growth potential is higher than ever.

As more domestic and foreign companies compete in the market, the quality and safety of non-surgical cosmetic devices in China are expected to continue to improve, benefiting consumers who seek high-quality, safe, and effective cosmetic treatments.

Hu, an industry expert, claimed that foreign brands have successfully taken over more than 60 percent of China’s medium to high-end market, including public hospitals and major medical aesthetics chain stores. With their early entrance, technical edge and industry experience, foreign brands have gained a competitive advantage over domestic enterprises. However, Hu also pointed out that domestic enterprises are catching up, and they are about to break the import monopoly and realize domestic substitution in the high-end market.

VBData.cn, a website specializing in data analysis, reported that in the subcategory of laser cosmetic devices, domestic enterprises are making progress. They are striving to catch up with foreign brands and are on the verge of breaking the import monopoly in the high-end market. The report indicated that manufacturers of some devices, such as carbon dioxide aesthetic devices, have already reached international standards and produced many high-quality devices. Nevertheless, the report also suggested that for some newly emerged technologies, such as the picosecond laser, foreign brands still dominate the subcategory because of the relatively high technical barriers.

Hu explained that foreign brands’ dominance in the subcategory of the picosecond laser is due to the technical barriers that make it challenging for domestic enterprises to compete. Nonetheless, domestic enterprises have been making great strides in other areas, such as carbon dioxide aesthetic devices, and are poised to compete with foreign brands in the high-end market. Despite the challenges, many domestic enterprises are actively working to catch up with their foreign counterparts by investing heavily in research and development.

Foreign brands currently dominate China’s medium to high-end market in the field of medical aesthetics, but not withstanding, domestic enterprises are catching up. Domestic enterprises have made significant progress in certain areas, such as carbon dioxide aesthetic devices, and are about to break the import monopoly in the high-end market. Nevertheless, some newly emerged technologies, such as the picosecond laser, are still dominated by foreign brands due to the relatively high technical barriers.

Industry experts have indicated that the Chinese government’s implementation of favorable policies and the increasing investment in research and development by domestic enterprises are contributing to their gradual growth in other subcategories of the medical aesthetics industry. This progress is noteworthy as foreign brands currently dominate the medium to high-end market in the field of medical aesthetics in China.

Huang Tao, an independent expert in public relations based in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, suggested that the non-surgical cosmetic procedure sector has great potential for growth. In recent years, the number of consumers opting for non-surgical cosmetic procedures has increased significantly. Huang Tao added that public hospitals have opened cosmetic surgery departments, and universities have launched related majors.

To ensure high-quality development in the non-surgical cosmetic treatment sector, Huang Tao emphasized the importance of domestic enterprises guaranteeing the quality of their products. In addition, Huang Tao suggested that domestic enterprises should focus on whole-process management, personnel management, and promotion of qualifications and products. Furthermore, domestic enterprises should strive to improve the quality of service and the overall image of the industry.

The development of the medical aesthetics industry in China is expected to be further guided by more laws and regulations. Experts predict that the implementation of new policies and regulations will help establish a fair and orderly market environment that will promote the growth of domestic enterprises in the medical aesthetics industry. These regulations may address issues such as quality control, personnel qualifications, and the supervision of medical procedures, among others.

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