A Beauty Boost in the Spa Category

By Katie Middleweek, Editor, European Cosmetic Markets | October 1, 2010

Spa therapies and spa products continue to perform well across the Big 5 countries and there is definitely a keen interest from consumers in this sector. This is proven by the fact that more day spas are popping up all the time and spa brands now have to compete heavily with high street brands when it comes to product innovation, as the market seems awash with new launches of this ilk.

Spa going is often seen as vital to overall health in many European countries.
A Foothold in France
The French spa market would appear to have been well preserved throughout the recent financial crisis, largely due to the French seeing spa going as far more of a necessity rather than a luxury.

According to a report by French audit and consulting company KPMG, “L’Industrie Hotelière Française 2009,” the well-being market in France (which covers all spa-related sectors including thalassotherapy centers and beauty salons) was worth approximately $2.2 billion in 2008. And figures published by CNEP/INSEE charted growth in 2008 reaching 6.6%. Industry sources indicate that growth has slowed slightly since these figures were published, but the sector has generally remained buoyant–with an estimated 5% growth in 2009 and it is thought that activity will bring the market size to $2.6 billion by the end of this year.

Spa trade in hotels continues to be big business in France. Sofitel (managed by French multinational Accor) expanded its So SPA concept last year, opening its second site at Marseille Vieux Port, covering 600 sq. meters with three treatment rooms and a private sundeck, with another opening in Morocco last October. The brands used in the spas reflect the hotel’s French heritage with Carita, Clarins, Cinq Mondes and L’Occitane en Provence being selected, and spa services are inspired by a restaurant menu. Les Entrées are 30-minute services and Les Plats Principaux and Les Desserts comprise of facials, body massages, massages and other treatments.

Medicinal Matters
Similarly to the French, the Germans view spa going (or wellness as it is known there) as of vital importance to their health and well-being and it is a big part of life in the country. In fact, doctors often prescribe spa treatments and therapies on the German National Health Service, such is their belief of its importance to health. And although IRI Germany has no figures for this section of the market, industry insiders can confirm that the sector is on the up.

According to the German Wellness Association, a recent study has shown that spa travel in particular has grown by 4.7% in the past year alone as consumers seek spas as they go on their travels, frequently choosing a hotel largely to do with the quality and size of the spa there.

French spa brand Thalgo, which sells extremely well in Germany, has tailored its offer into a more medicinal one to suit the German market.“Thalgo Med is a bespoke treatment programme which has been developed in line with German doctors and therapists as they use our products for a very medicinal purpose,” said Michel Gras, Thalgo’s international director.“As cosmetic surgery become increasingly common in the country, doctors are now recommending Thalgo products for use on the skin up to two weeks before surgery and as part of a patient’s post operative routine. Through this, we have greatly boosted our popularity in the country and are now stocked in 200 spas and over 600 beauty institutes in Germany so this has been very lucrative for us as a business.”

Italian Renaissance
The Italian spa sector, while always popular, has really come to life in the past few years, and 2009-2010 was no exception. According to recent data from Euromonitor International, the Italian spa sector is now valued at $1.2 billion and 2009 saw a slight 0.2% increase on 2008 which was a modest growth but a growth nonetheless. Again, the spa hotel sector grew by an encouraging 3.8%, representing a market value of approximately $511.3 million alone.

La Melosa Resort & Spa in Tuscany has just launched a new line of anti-aging products including the new Crema Anti-Age agli isoflavoni di soia, an isoflavone-based formula that includes soy. Isoflavones are said to be key antioxidants that keep the skin looking youthful. Other products in the range include a bath foam with an extract of red grapes which claims to have rejuvenating properties.

Spanish Appetite
According to recent data from the International Spa Association, spa going in Spain is currently ranked at sixth in the world behind the U.S., Japan, Italy Germany and the UK. It also reported that the turnover for this sector in 2009 stood at approximately $5.6 billion, which is testament to the fact that Spaniards are big advocates of both spa going and spa products.

The regions of Galicia and Catalonia, located at opposite ends of the Iberian Peninsula, are particular hotspots for the Spanish spa industry as hotel spas have really taken off here.

One such site is the Spa Bliss Barcelona in the Hotel W.Launched in 2009, it is the first Bliss site to open in Spain and it has been extremely well received.

Spa Spectacular
If these countries have all performed moderately well in the past year, then the UK has really run away with first prize. According to data from UK industry body Kantar Worldpanel, the UK spa products sector has put on a mightily impressive 20.3% to total approximately $92 million (this refers to spa products only, as opposed to the whole sector, on which most of the other data is based). In volume terms, there was an even better growth of 23.7% as the market jumped to 24.46 million units from 19.78 million units the previous year.

This has given a much needed boost to the UK spa market, which has received a small hit in recent years due to the financial crisis. London’s The Sanctuary is probably the UK’s best known day spa and in July this year the company completely revamped its skin care line tailoring it into three main sections to address three core skin care concerns–Youth Boosting, Brightening and Deep Cleanse.

It claims that its hero product is the new Therapists Secret Facial Oil, described as a superfood for all skin types to help replenish the skin’s own natural oil content and to provide noticeable plumping effects. The ranges support The Sanctuary’s new Prescription Facial, a therapy that has also been very well received by clients.

As the European spa market continues to grow apace, it is clear that spas and spa therapies go hand in hand with spa products for use in the home. It is a route that manufacturers are increasingly taking, trying to draw consumers more and more into the spa world, until they no longer view it as a frivolous luxury, but more as an essential to their health and well-being. And it seems to be working if the recent data is anything to go by.

European Cosmetic Markets is published monthly by HPCi Media Limited. It provides in-depth data and analysis of the European cosmetics and toiletries market. For subscription details contact HPCi Media Limited.Tel: (44) 0207 193 7447, Fax: (44) 20 7549 8622
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