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Top 10 Industry Trends of 2007

January through December—2007 has already flipped through the pages of the calendar, allowing for the preparation of a whole new set of adventures in 2008. But before moving into the new year, its important to see where the industry has been, providing a preview of the direction it’s headed. Following are some interesting industry impacts, listed in no particular order, as identified by the Skin Inc. magazine editorial team.

The Millennium Generation. Future spa-goers are becoming your current spa-goers faster than they can bat their glittery eye-shadowed lid at you. This year, kids, ’tweens and teens have put their little feet down as a viable spa audience, and there’s no denying that the combination of beauty, makeup, girl talk, health, fitness and fun is appealing to the under-18 set. And despite the giddiness of it all, there are some serious dollars to be made today—and for years to come—from this generation. These kids will be the big-spenders in your spa as they grow older, and because they are beginning to understand the importance of skin and beauty maintenance at a young age, this emphasis will continue and become more substantial as they get older, start to receive a steady paycheck and become the moguls some think they already are.


Techno spa.
We know, we know … you don’t like sitting in front of a computer. However, more and more spa professionals are embracing the solutions that technology offers, helping you to do your job smarter and more efficiently, which results in more money. Gone are the days of handwriting appointments into a smudged, dog-eared scheduling book. An increasing number of spa owners are realizing the benefits of spa software, and even universal accounting software, to make their businesses run more smoothly. On top of that, the benefits of Web sites alone—not to mention those equipped to sell retail items and gift certificates—are giving spas another vein in which to succeed. Add in the ever-increasing availability of online training courses and e-newsletters, and you and your team are working smarter—and more profitably—than ever before. Say it with me now: "I love computers!"


Living the wellness life.
Sure, eating right, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep are important parts of being well, but how does the spa industry factor into this equation? With developments this year in cuisine for the skin, meditation- and balance-centered services, as well as sleep and relaxation treatments, spas have carved quite a niche for themselves when it comes to experiencing total wellness. A larger part of the population now is looking inside itself to create feelings of totality and peace, and alternative spa therapies, such as acupuncture, Reiki and cupping, paired with delicious spa diets and home-based skin care regimens, are helping to develop just that. More calming, centering menu options are making spas the perfect place to complete a sense of wellness, so find your center and get ready to help your clients feel whole.


Movin’ on up.
From Trump Tower to Canyon Ranch, the future of luxury involves living in a relaxed state of well-being. This year, the trend toward building and planning condominiums and hotels that focus on a spa lifestyle—presumably to attract the soon-to-be retiring boomers—started in full swing. Two of the main players domestically: the Trump Organization, which is developing The Spa at Trump and dedicated spa guest rooms as part of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago; and the ever-influential Canyon Ranch, which has introduced its Living condominiums in Tucson, Arizona; Miami Beach, Florida; and Chicago, featuring luxury and the joy of a healthy lifestyle. What a way to live!


Demise of the face invaders.
Although face lifts are alive and well, many women and men are taking a not-so-drastic route to unfading beauty. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 69% more women and 91% more men since 2000 are taking a nonsurgical approach to looking good. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery concurs, listing Botox* as the most popular surgical alternative in 2006, followed closely by hyaluronic acid, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion and laser skin resurfacing. Additionally, more and more skin care suppliers are ditching the needles altogether by offering topical alternatives for smooth foreheads, plump lips and bright, youthful complexions. Aging gracefully has never been so easy.


Screened out.
Who knew sunscreen, traditionally such as safety staple, would become so controversial in 2007? From claims ranging that it causes free radical damage to results being inflated to it simply not working, sunscreen took a beating this year. And although initial reactions to such alarming news were to chastise sunscreen suppliers and consider ceasing sunscreen use altogether, by the end of 2007, feedback has become more reasonable and productive. All experts agree and maintain that a person is much better off using sunscreen than not, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is making it easier to identify the correct level of protection. In fact, it recently proposed a more efficient scale to indicate protection levels for both UVA and UVB rays—SPF only indicates protection against UVB. Look for these improvements in 2008. So take a deep breath, slather on the sunscreen and know that a better era of sun protection is on its way.


Up with eco.
With news reports of global climate change, the world’s water shortage, chemical-laden crops and a lack of sustainable resources, the environment has jumped to the forefront of the business industry this year, and spas are on the leading edge of going green. Organic ingredients, products and treatments are more and more becoming the norm, with offerings such as vegan manicure and pedicures and indigineous-ingredient body treatments popping up in many facilities nationwide. Green spa design, which includes the incorporation of recyclable building materials and systems that conserve water and energy, also has become a hot trend, as well as the purchasing of carbon offsetO methods used to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. And organizations, such as the recently launched Green Spa Network, are working to develop and help businesses implement more environmentally friendly practices, including how to sustain staff and business resources.


The bionic spa.
LEDs, lasers, IPLs and microcurrent—oh my! In a world that is traveling at a faster pace with each passing day, time-pressed clients are seeking treatments—and results—that are able to match that pace. And with technologcially evolving equipment becoming easier to use and more readily available this year, spas are better equipped to meet this demand. Although the rejuvenating, relaxing effects of traditional facials and massage have definitely not gone by the wayside, these new options, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and intense pulsed light (IPL), extend a spa’s possibilities, allowing for deeper product penetration, longer-lasting results and more menu options. And along with all the equipment innovations, new techniques and service pairings are being created all the time, broadening spas’ reach. By utilizing these trends of technology, you’ll be seen as a skin wizard in no time.


Planet Spa.
With a plane ticket and passport, it’s possible to reach all four corners of the Earth more easily than ever these days, and this globalization has extended through the doors of even the smallest spa. You’d be hard-pressed to find a menu that didn’t include offerings with Asian and European influences, and now spas are able to send employees right to the sources for training, from Thailand to Sweden. However, this means that the competition down the street—and even your clients—also have the opportunity to travel to faraway places and experience exotic modalities, as well. So, despite the educational opportunities, globalization also is making the fight to help your spa stand out among the crowd all the more difficult. With the world becoming smaller every day, it’s more important than ever to keep your eyes, ears and mind open to innovation, and to build your services and staff to unparalleled heights.


Giving back.
Participating in a melanoma awareness walk and sponsoring a skin care tent at the event ... donating products and services to a local charity fund-raiser for breast cancer research ... offering treatments and tips about skin care to kids fighting illnesses at a local children’s hospital ... these are just a few of the ways in which the spa industry has offered a helping hand this year for a variety of causes that are affecting our world today. The spa businesses and product suppliers that have been giving their time, talent and money are receiving unexpected benefits, too Not only do the efforts provide warm and fuzzy feelings of aiding your fellow man, but charity sponsorship and donating are some of the best ways to get your spa’s name out to the public. Helping the world and helping to grow your business? What a deal!

 

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