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Global Beauty: Trends in the Spa World

By: Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Posted: June 9, 2008

It probably comes as no surprise to you that today’s spa industry is an $11.2 billion-plus industry, which makes it the fourth-largest leisure industry—falling not far behind the No. 1-ranked golf industry at $19.7 billion; cruise lines at $14.7 billion; and health and racket clubs at $14.1 billion.As a top-grossing industry, spas are ahead of amusement parks, box office receipts and even time-shares.

We all know that today’s consumers are savvy. They are well-educated, know the benefits of total-body wellness and are buying into the spa experience. Two years ago, the International SPA Association’s (ISPA) annual industry trends report touched on consumer behavior and found that people wanted “pampering” in order to stay healthy and look good, and that they generally were knowledgeable and demanding about spa services. However, new findings conclude that a shift in attitude continues to affect the industry. The spa emphasis now is on self-preservation,and spas have gained a new aura of respectability. People want to reward themselves for working so hard. De-stressing and decompressing are cited as the top two reasons for “being touched and pampered,” according to the ISPA survey.

The desire for relaxation and pampering has deepened throughout the past five years, and is now broader-based. The under-35 group is willing to invest in it; the 45-plus group took a little longer to be won over by its appeal. And all of this was fueled by the baby boomers when they hit 40. Boomers and their children also will pay to look young and healthy. In the United States alone, the market for anti-aging skin care products is valued at nearly $2.5 billion for theretail sector and is growing at double-digit rates.

Spas now are seeing three and even four generationsas clients—the baby boomers are bringing in their Generation Xers, who are passing their spa habits onto their kids—tweens and teens. The trend toward kids spasis growing rapidly. Spas throughout the country are waking up to the fact that this developing market segment is their future client base, AND that its members have disposable income. And let’s not forget about men. The number of males frequenting spas has risen 25–30%—equaling the number of men having plastic surgery.

Indigenous ingredients, which are natural products, are all the rage on spa menus. The list of hot ingredients currently available and used in the spa market is endless,but includes aloe vera, lime, coconut, mint, cucumber, ginger, papaya, lemongrass, coffee and even chocolate.This carries over into the trend toward mind/body wellness.<

Mind/body wellness