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Uncertainty and Innovation Underscore the Spa Market



By Katie Middleweek, Editor, European Cosmetic Markets



Published October 18, 2011
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It was only a matter of time before European spa marketers felt the grinding effects of the recent recession. While last year’s sales results were largely positive, this year has proved to be much more of a mixed bag. France did see an increase in market value while Italy and Spain declined by 6% and 7%, respectively—which was not good news. At press time, there were no figures available for Germany and the UK, unfortunately.
 
Insider opinion on the spa sector has been varied, however, because although some of the figures do not look good, there has been positive innovation on the product and treatment side—which is good news for consumers and manufacturers alike.
 
 
French Polish
Although there were no exact sales figures for the French spa market in 2010, it is the view of many insiders that there has been a definite return to form in the past year. Many companies have reported a good year, and the increase in hotel business, in particular, has been sharp. Recent figures from the Global Spa Summit estimate the French spa market to be worth $2.1 billion, giving France a 5% share of the global spa market and making it the fourth largest behind the US (26%), Japan (12%) and Germany (8%).
 
When it comes to new product development, there has been innovation in the skin whitening sector, and luxury spa brand L.Raphael is currently developing a new whitening product due to launch in 2012.The organic skin care sector has seen new entries too, prominently from Cinq Mondes, which started introducing Ecocert-certified organic skin care at the end of last year. The brand’s strategy is to combine naturalness and performance, but never at the expense of one or the other. As a result, only certain Cinq Mondes products are organic, such as Crème Eclat aux Cinq Fleurs and Eau Micellaire aux Cinq Fleurs, a hydrating and illuminating creme and a cleansing and toning water. The formulas are based on phytoaromatic research, incorporating five tropical flowers (gardenia, hibiscus, frangipani, ylang ylang and lotus) to restore softness and radiance to the skin alongside the benefits of a refreshing and energizing fragrance.
 
 
Babor’s Brazilian Treat

The Beleza Do Brasil energizing body butter is new from spa brand Babor.
Germany has many interesting spa brands and Babor is definitely a frontrunner here. The brand, which is available in many spas across the country, recently rolled out its new Babor Beleza Vitality treatment, which takes inspiration from the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. This is a head-to-toe treatment concept, which incorporates a warm soothing application ending in a pleasantly refreshing tropical rain shower. The constant transition from warm to cool during the treatment increases the circulation and boosts the recipient’s sense of well-being, according to the company.
 
To accompany the new treatment, Babor has launched a range of associated products including the Beleza do Brasil Body Butter, which is applied warm during the massage portion of the above treatment. The product contains active ingredients such as cumaru oil, yacon juice and araucaria extracts, which are said to vitalize and strengthen the skin during the treatment.
 
 
Spa Slump
According to data from Euromonitor International, sales within the Italian spa market fell 6% to about $870 million. One-day spa trips are popular with consumers, who often purchase vouchers for special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.
 
Italy boasts many spa sites that are popular worldwide including Saturnia, Salsomaggiore and Ischia. Many wellness centers are located in the northern and central areas of the country and offer innovative and specific treatments with innovative techniques and cutting edge products. Last year, La Melosa, a popular spa located in Tuscany, about an hour and half from Florence, promoted its traditional MelOil line, the main ingredients of which are olive oil and red grapes. The company also launched a new range of sun protection and sun tanning products based on carrot extracts and argan oil, which sit within its spa range.
 
La Melosa says it is focusing on getting its products out to the home spa market, as many customers have recently expressed an interest in recreating the experience on their own time (and presumably as a way to save some euros in the process).
 

Africology uses essential oils in its products.
Spain Feels the Pinch
Spain’s cosmetics and toiletries market has felt the pinch of economic recession more than most in Europe and it was inevitable that this would also affect the country’s spa market.
 
According to research firm DBK, sales slumped 7% during the past year to $345 million in traditional spa centers. However, an additional $265 million can be attributed to hotel spa business in the country and this is an area that is set to grow.
 
Good spas require good equipment and a Spanish equipment success story, both at home and abroad, is Zonair3D. In conjunction with the Universitat Politècnica in Catalunya, Zonair3D has created its Bubble Pure Air, a transportable bubble whose architecture and propulsion system means that anyone entering it is breathing air without any contaminants or viral, bacterial and allergenic agents.
 
“It is specially designed for athletes and people with allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, but also for anyone who wants the benefits of inhaling 99.9% pure air,” according to the company.
 
With clients of the calibre of tennis player Rafa Nadal, the Real Madrid medical team and the Gran Hotel La Florida in Barcelona, the Bubble Pure Air is already available in 14 markets worldwide and the firm is targeting 30 international distributors by the end of the year.
 
 
New UK Arrivals
Two new entrants onto the UK spa market are Africology and Mandara Spa. Africology takes the inspiration for its products and treatments from a variety of global locations, including its native South Africa. The UK Africology Spa, based beneath London’s Bloww Salon near Regent’s Street and opening this month, is the first of what the company hopes will be many in Europe. Treatments include the African Goddess Facial and the African Potato Body Experience.

Zonair3D’s Bubble Pure Air is said to ensure the user inhales 99.9% pure air.
 
Luxury spa brand Mandara Spa, part of the Steiner Leisure Group, has created a new range of bath and body products that retail exclusively through 400 Sainsbury’s supermarkets and at the brand’s first UK spa at the Park Plaza hotel in London. The five collections are inspired by spa locations in Bali, the Maldives, the Bahamas and Hawaii.
 
Meanwhile super salon Urban Retreat has taken the home spa concept a step further with Urban Retreat at Home. But this isn’t just a case of products for home use—it’s a franchise package harmonized under Urban Retreat. Targeting people who are strapped for time or unable to get to a spa for whatever reason, qualified therapists travel to people’s homes to provide a full treatment experience.
 
Urban Retreat chairman George Hammer acknowledges that this is not a new concept, saying, “It’s been going since before I was born but it’s never been harnessed properly by anybody.”
 
Therapists will be retrained and will only be allowed to deliver treatments for which they’re qualified to the right standard.
 
“It’s about creating a benchmark for Urban Retreat,” said Hammer. And while it’s not about selling product, selling is part of the franchise agreement, though clients will be directed to the Urban Retreat Beautique online.
 
Thus, while figures for the spa market, when they are available, show a somewhat uncertain landscape, it is clear that the European spa market has not lacked innovation or creative thinking. It has to be hoped that this will give the market a jumpstart for the coming year—it certainly needs it.
 
 
 
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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