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ISPA Recap: The State of the Spa Industry and Current Trends

The 2015 ISPA Conference and Expo was held October 19 through October 21 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Obviously we were there, since this is an event we've been attending for almost a decade now. This year's conference was a very special occasion since it marked ISPA's 25th anniversary of the event.

The first conference was held in 1991 at the Turnberry Isle Resort in Miami, where 150 people were in attendance. Today ISPA boasts over 4,000 active members, ranging from spa and resort owners to estheticians and masseuses. Over 2,300 attended this year's event along with 243 vendors. We enjoy being part of a close-knit group that comes together each year to learn about trends in the spa industry, and we're appreciative of ISPA since they give those of us in the industry a unified voice internationally.

First, Let's Discuss the Numbers

ISPA always provides insightful information on the state of the spa industry, with the focus being their "Big Five" statistics that they provide every year. Here's what the "Big Five" looked like for the U.S. from 2013 to 2014:

  • Spa revenue was up 5.3%
  • New spa locations were up 2.4%
  • Spa employment was up 2.9%
  • Spa visits were up 6.7%
  • 70% of spa locations reported an increase in spending per spa visit

These numbers prove that the industry is still growing. And while on paper the increases might seem small, the year-over-year growth for such a niche market is very strong, and looks impressive over a longer span of time. For example, in 1999 there were 5,689 spas in the U.S., which equated to 95 million spa visits. Today there are 20,660 spas generating 176 million visits a year. Keep in mind that doesn't even include the rise of salon-spa hybrids—those numbers only reflect destination or resort spas. All in all, the "Big Five" stats continue to portend great things for our industry.

Now, Let's Discuss the Spa Trends

During the conference a lot of ground was covered, but hearing about market trends is always helpful to those of us trying to provide professional spas and salons with the best possible products. During this year's conference three trends were discussed:

1. Eyes

If we could sum up this trend, it would be "eyes, eyes, eyes." Products used to remove makeup, to apply creams, or to assist with eyebrow tinting and waxing are gaining in popularity since eye-related services are on the rise in spas. Our Pillowettes™ (which were a hit at the ISPA Conference and Expo last year since we included them in attendees' welcome bags) and 2"x 2" Cotton Wipes are often used by estheticians for these types of skin care treatments.

2. Facials

This trend should come as no surprise. Facials have always been popular, and they continue to be in demand. More and more spas are adding facial services to their menus, from masks to peels. In fact, we felt like most of the booths at the ISPA event concentrated on facial products. This year our botanically infused Gentle Cleansing Towels were included in the welcome bags, and we received extremely positive feedback. Our GCTs are perfect for use during facials, as are our Silken Wipes, 4"x 4" Cotton Wipes, and 4"x 4" 12-Ply Gauze.

3. Waxing

Wax treatments continue to be the number one revenue generator for spas. Think about it: hair will always grow back, so it's a continuing service for most spas and estheticians. Two of our products are ideal for wax treatments: our waxing rolls—which come in pre-cut 3"x 9" strips or 100-yard rolls—and our 4"x 4" 12-Ply Gauze. It's important to note that our waxing rolls are made of high-quality pellon, which won't tear or rip during treatments.

What Will 2016 Hold?

For the industry, there's no reason to believe that the "Big Five" stats won't continue to climb. For us here at Intrinsics, our game plan is to continue manufacturing the products that have gained us loyalty from spa owners, estheticians, and distributors—a loyalty we never take for granted. We'll close with a quote from one of the speakers at the conference, Dr. Pamela Peeke:

"Prioritizing relaxation along with a real and meaningful learning experience is key. By inviting tired and lost souls to come and learn simple, practical tools to heal and apply those lessons in real life is a major goal that each spa should achieve."

We think that sums up a spa's mission perfectly. To help you achieve that mission, we strive to make products that enhance the spa experience and make your life easier. Really, you shouldn't have to think about the products you're using at all. You should be focused solely on your clients. Whether it's a service that involves one of ISPA's hot trends, or a treatment that's tried and true, always feel free to let us know if our mission is serving yours.

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