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Spa Industry Shows Incredible Growth

Health Tips

The results from an in-depth survey just conducted for the International SPA Association by PricewaterhouseCoopers provides hard numbers to back up the incredible growth being reported by spa professionals.

According to the results, 95 million visits are made to spas in the United States annually generating $5 billion in revenues. Spas generate more in revenue than ski resorts ($3.1 billion) and only slightly less than box office receipts ($7.5 billion). “As the association representing the entire health and wellness industry, ISPA is very pleased to provide such a comprehensive report of its growth and trends,” said ISPA Executive Director Lynne J. Walker. Other key findings in the study include:

  • There are 5,689 spas in the United States. Of these, 77 percent are day spas, 8 percent are resort/hotel spas, 7 percent are club spas, 5 percent are destination spas, 3 percent are medical spas, 3 percent are mineral springs spas and .3 percent are cruise ship spas.
  • Spas in the U.S. employ 104,000 people full time and 47,000 part time.
  • Spas cover 38.9 million square feet in the United States.
  • The number of spas in the United States has grown at an annual rate of 21 percent in the last five years.
  • Spa industry revenues in the United States surged 129 percent between 1997 and 1999.
  • Employment at spas doubled between 1997 and 1999.
  • Spa visits in the United States have increased almost 60 percent between 1997 and 1999.

Consumer Trends Fueling Growth in the Spa Industry:

  • Consumers’ perspective on health is increasingly focussed on prevention and fitness. This is particularly true among baby boomers and the aging generation that makes up 51.2 percent of the U.S. population.
  • The Echo boomers and Generation Xers are a growing market for the spa industry, particularly for the day spa segment, as the younger generation seeks escape from work-related stress.
  • Consumers are increasingly seeking the spa experience as an alternative or complement to other leisure activities.

Other Trends:

  • Spas are increasingly being built or added to hotels and resorts. (Interviews revealed that spas are putting “heads in beds.”)
  • Day spas will increasingly be located in malls.
  • More mega-spas are being built and the average spa will be larger.
  • Branding will become more important.
  • Non-traditional products such as “Eastern” treatments and products with fitness components are gaining popularity.
  • Traditional products – the “tried and true” therapies like hydrotherapy and mud baths – continue to be highly popular.
  • Keeping a healthy body and mind (holistic approach) and using natural and organic materials are a focus of new product and service offerings in spas.
  • Services for couples such as dual massages and hydrotherapy are being requested more frequently.


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