Priceonomics

 
A version of this analysis first appeared on Zocdoc, a Priceonomics Data Studio customer. 
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The holidays can be a stressful and busy time - coordinating schedules among friends, seeing the family, and preparing food to feed extra people can sap just about all of your time and energy.

As a result, healthy habits may fall by the wayside: Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, research shows, we go hard on treats, light on exercise and heavy on erratic sleep patterns. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we don’t really make time for doctor’s appointments either.

We wanted to know - are there spikes or declines in medical appointment visits around the holidays? We analyzed millions of anonymized medical appointments booked on Zodoc, a Priceonomics customer. We analyzed our database of medical appointment bookings over a one-year period (April 2017 to March 2018) to see if people are more likely to visit their doctor around the holidays.

Overall, we found that appointments were either steady or slowed around the holidays, with a notable exception—Botox.

When we looked at various specializations, we found that Botox appointments spiked around Thanksgiving and Christmas, with bookings rates 35-45% higher than normal. 

People in their 40s and 50s are most likely to use Botox versus other services on the Zocdoc platform. San Jose and Seattle are the places in the United States with the highest rate of Botox treatments.

We also found that the busiest days of the year to book Botox occurred around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. November 20th was the busiest day of the year, with booking rates 79% higher than average, followed closely by December 4th and 21st, which both had Botox booking rates around 75% higher than average. 

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Botox appointments spike around Thanksgiving and Christmas

Once we found the Botox appointment spikes, we started by investigating when people book their Botox visits, and whether this booking behavior is similar to overall appointment bookings. 

In the chart below, 100% represents the average booking rate. Percentages above or below 100% represent how many more (or fewer) appointments are booked for Botox throughout the year. The grey line represents the average booking rate for all other medical appointments. Here, it serves as a baseline to compare appointment bookings for Botox.

Data source: ZocDoc

As the chart above shows, there is a spike in the amount of Botox appointments booked near Thanksgiving and again in December. Around Thanksgiving, Botox appointments bump up to 35% higher than the normal booking rate, and move up again at the beginning of December to 42% and 45% higher than average at the beginning of Christmas break. In comparison, all other appointments remain steady, at right around that 100% rate.

Now that we know that Botox is so popular around the holidays, we wanted to know who is booking all these appointments? We decided to look at who books Botox appointments by age group.

The chart below breaks down overall Botox appointment bookings by age ranges. In red, we see the average amount of all medical appointments booked by each group, while the blue represents the percentage of each age group that books Botox appointments.

Data source: ZocDoc

It turns out that people between the ages of 40-49 are over 2.4-times as likely to book a Botox appointment as would be expected given their prevalence in overall bookings. People 50-59 years old are the next most likely group to book appointments, with an appointment booking rate just over 2 times as likely as would be expected given their overall appointment bookings. The two tails of the age ranges, people 29 and younger, and those 60 and older, don’t book Botox appointments at particularly high rates.

Now that we have a handle on who is booking Botox appointments around the holidays, we wanted to know in which cities do people book the most Botox appointments?

Data source: ZocDoc

Compared to overall medical appointments, San Jose is the most popular city for booking Botox. We found that Botox appointments overall continue to make up a small portion of medical appointments booked within each city - roughly half a percent of overall appointments for the popular cities, and around a tenth of a percent for the less popular cities. San Jose, Seattle, and Denver have the most Botox appointment booking rates compared to overall medical appointments. 

At the bottom we see that Washington, D.C., Houston, and New York have some of the lowest Botox appointment rates. Compared to overall booking rates, Washington books about one-sixth as many appointments for Botox as San Jose.

If you’re going to book a Botox appointment for the holidays, it might be helpful to avoid the holiday rush. Just for you, we compiled a list of the busiest days leading up to Christmas. If you need to book your appointment for one of the days below, be sure to book far in advance so you’re not left scrambling.

Data source: ZocDoc

November 20th is the most popular day of the year for Botox appointments. At 79% higher than average, the 20th of November is the busiest day of the year for booking an appointment. December 4th and 21st are tied for second place, both boasting booking rates 75% higher than the average booking rate. Out of the top 15 days for booking a Botox appointment, 12 of them, or 80%, occur in either November or December. 

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The Takeaway

The pre-holiday Botox appointment is real. Overall Botox appointment booking rates move from the average to up to 45% higher than the typical appointment rate around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. 

People between the ages of 40-49 and 50-59 were between 2-2.4 times as likely to book a Botox appointment as would be expected given their overall prevalence in medical appointment bookings. 

Given all we found, we wanted to leave our readers with a list of days to avoid (or plan far in advance) the doctor’s office for your next Botox appointment. November 20th (179%), December 4th (175%) and 21st (175%) were the busiest days of the year to go in for Botox. Be sure to either book months in advance or choose another day if you need to squeeze in a session prior to your break. 

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Note: If you’re a company that wants to work with Priceonomics to turn your data into great stories, learn more about the Priceonomics Data Studio. Cover image by Kelsey Tyler for Zocdoc.



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