Feature Article - January/February 2002
Find a printable version here

There’s No Business Like Spa Business

With some rec centers and health clubs adding or converting space for spas, how do you plan a successful place for pampering?

By Jenny E. Beeh

By the Numbers
How big is the spa industry and how fast is it growing?

The following findings are part of the International SPA Association's 2000 Spa Industry Study prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Spa locations There are an estimated 5,689 spas throughout the United States. The largest spa category is day spas, accounting for more than three-quarters of locations. Resort/hotels are the second largest group, followed by club spas, medical spas, mineral spring spas, destination spas and cruise-ship spas. Geographically, the distribution of spas generally reflects with the distribution of the U.S. population.

The number of spa locations has been growing rapidly, doubling in number in the last five years.

Spa visits There were about 90.7 million spa visits made in the United States in 1999. About 64 percent were to day spas. Club spas and resort/hotel spas receive the next largest numbers of spa visits.

Demand is the driving force behind the tremendous growth of the industry. Spa demand grew 60 percent between 1997 and 1999. Club spas saw the largest increase in demand at 132 percent—more than double the industry average.

Revenues In 1999, the spa industry amassed about $5 billion in revenues. The largest sources of revenue for the industry are treatment rooms, beauty salons and retail.

With revenues growing rapidly for both the industry as a whole and for individual spas, total industry revenues surged 129 percent between 1997 and 1999. In the same time period, individual spas experienced an average annual increase in revenues of 28.3 percent in the United States and 26.3 percent in Canada.

Employment An estimated 151,000 people are employed by the U.S. spa industry. About 69 percent of these employees are full time. Employee wages and salaries totaled about $2.4 billion in 1999.

The spa industry saw a doubling in the total number of employees between 1997 and 1999.