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Industry Update

September 28, 2012 | 6:44 AM

Every year, the International Spa Association issues its annual Spa Industry Study. This comprehensive look at the health and wealth of the industry is full of useful benchmarks that spa owners can use to measure their own business' growth. Here, some key facts and figures from the just released 2007 study to help you determine the health of your business.

- 14,600: the number of spa locations in the United States as of July 2007. Eighty percent of those are day spas. The number of all spa establishments grew 13 percent between 2006 and 2007.

- 111 million: the number of spa visits made in the U.S. in 2006. Day spas continue to dominate in overall visits, claiming 73 percent of them.

- 232,700: the number of people employed by the U.S. spa industry. Spas say they have the hardest time filling nail technician, massage therapist, esthetician and front desk positions. Sixty-eight percent work in a day spa, 20 percent in a resort/hotel, 5 percent in a medical spa, 5 percent in a club and 2 percent other locations.

- $9.4 billion: the gross revenue generated by the industry in 2006, a slight decrease from the pervious year. According to the report, "Despite the dip in revenues, the industry is healthier than it was a year ago. In fact, findings show that over the past several years, spas have been increasing their revenue per visit and ultimately their profit margins. This greater focus on the bottom line has led to consistent industry profit growth since 2003, and suggests that, despite lower revenues, spas are finding ways to operate more efficiently."

- 19 percent: the average growth rate of medical spas, which are the fastest growing segment of the spa industry. Resort/hotel spas are a close second at 16 percent, although these segments are small to begin with, so the actual number of new medical spas and resort/hotel spas entering the industry are lower than among larger segments, like day spas.

Some other key conclusions of the report include:

- As the industry is maturing, it is evolving, which has led to many to seek differentiation, such as in the medical spa and resort/hotel spa sectors, or in the development of new spa types such as mobile spas and residential/community spas.

- With stability in demand and a growing number of locations, spas have seen a decline in average visits, revenue and employees per spa in recent years. However, the lower averages appear attributable to the newer spas entering the industry as opposed to the more established spas that have been around for many years.

- While U.S. spas have found ways to become more efficient and improve the bottom line despite declining per spa revenue, this can only continue for so long. At some point, the industry needs to find a way to increase the number of spa visits in order to maintain a growth trend.

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