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Saving Face

By: Carrie Lennard
Posted: March 26, 2010, from the April 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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The desire for beauty and young-looking, healthy skin has also translated into a need for the occasional rejuvenating spa visit, and consumers with less discretionary income are still looking for ways to treat themselves.

According to the Professional Beauty Association’s Performance Index, which surveys 700 salons and spas in the United States and is based on information such as customer flow to spas, retail sales and spa owners’ outlook on the industry and the future of their businesses, the current index rose by 0.9% during 2009, indicating that spas seem to be weathering the recession. The impact of the global economic crisis, along with hectic lifestyles and increasing urbanization, are just some of the factors behind the trend toward an increased spa demand.

Another factor in the spa market, however, is that the global traveler is scaling back on purchasing. Consumer price-sensitivity has increased, and more than ever, consumers are demanding high-quality services at more affordable prices. Moreover, consumers are forgoing all luxuries and consoling themselves with smaller spa treatments, such as facials and mini vacations at hotels with adjoining spas, as opposed to long holidays in far-flung locales.

Faced with growing competition, many hotels and key market players have identified spa facilities as a deciding factor when hotel guests choose accommodations for events or vacations. As a result, beauty industry players have begun to focus their attention on the spa industry, and further growth in this area is likely to continue.

Spa opportunities

Among affluent consumers in Asia, Thailand is gaining popularity as a spa destination, and the Middle East and Africa are also strong regions to consider in terms of health and wellness sales, with Euromonitor noting its recording of $5.6 billion in 2008. This positive performance is directly related to growth of luxury hotels and spas in countries such as Jordan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, and Dubai is set to become the regional and global spa capital by 2010. Additionally, a population of young expatriates and the increasing stresses of modern life are likely to contribute to a boom in wellness retreats and spas.