European Spa Industry Continues to Thrive

By Katie Rodgers, Editor, European Cosmetic Markets | October 5, 2009

Despite recenteconomic problems, the Big 5’s spa industry has experienced relatively good fortunes in the past year. The number of spas and treatments available, as well as the number of products launched into the market, seem to be on the upswing and European consumers continue to show a healthy interest in the sector.

The $2.9 billion French spa market has undergone something of a boom of late, according to research company Diagonal Reports. There are between 18,000-20,000 spas operating in the country—a figure that is growing every year. The largest and most dynamic segment is the luxury hotel sector, which has placed an emphasis on top quality service and staff in order to attract affluent consumers.

One of these luxury hotels is the Fairmont Hotel Group, which recently opened a plush new spa in its Monte Carlo Hotel, covering 900 square meters of space and offering a host of cutting-edge treatments.

Spa product-wise, manufacturers have tried to accommodate all concerns in order to woo trade. Dry skin is one of the most common skin complaints in France, and as such, many spa brands are developing ranges to treat the problem. Domestic brand Matis has launched Réponse Jeunesse Optimal Moisturizing Serum, which promises to deliver an intense moisture surge to the skin.

Bubbling Up

There is much to be positive about in Germany, according to Deutsche Wellness-Verband (DWV), the industry association for the German spa sector. Although no figures are available, DWV says that the desire for spa-related products has increased in the past year in conjunction with the increased desire for spa going.

Babor has even opened a premium spa in Frankfurt Airport to service first class consumers while they wait for their flights. It offers a full range of Babor treatments and features shower cabins and Jacuzzis.

Brand-wise, Ahava launched 3-in-1 Mineral Toning Cleanser in May. The product is a water-based cleansing milk for the face and eye area, which removes makeup and dirt, tightens pores and rebalances the skin’s pH at the same time. It contains Dunaliella algae, a powerful seaweed indigenous to the Dead Sea region, which is packed with beta carotene to fight free radicals. It also utilizes the astringent properties of witch hazel, which tones the skin and helps fight wrinkles and fine lines.

Last month, Ahava launched its Dermud Moisturizing Lip Repair for dry and cracked lips. It contains Dead Sea mineral mud to restore natural moisture, reduces inflammation and encourages skin renewal, while jojoba oil acts as an excellent emollient and is rich in omega 3 and omega 6.

Increasing Interest

In 2008, the Italian spa sector was worth nearly $1.5 billion and seems to be growing, according to Diagonal Reports. Euromonitor International also adds that the retail value of the spa sector (including hotel/resort spas, destination spas and other spas) is $968 million and growing every year and this has been mirrored by the continual launch of spa products. Italian spas do a very good “thermal” spa trade, with sites between the Alps and the Dolomite mountains particularly popular.

There has also been an increase in Italian spas launching their own product ranges. At the end of 2008, the Adler Spa, which is situated in the heart of the Dolomites, launched Crema Viso alla Fitomelatonina, which is said to revitalize the skin. Fitomelatonina oil is extracted from selected plants that grow in the pristine Alps of the Trentino Alto Adige region. It is said to be rich in melatonin and also contains UVA and UVB filters. The product is said to have protective and revitalizing effects on skin.

Visitor Slump

Due to the recent recession having quite a severe effect on the Spanish tourism industry, spa business here has suffered simply because fewer people are visiting the country and therefore hotel spas, where much of Spain’s spa trade is conducted. According to the Spanish newspaper El País, the number of foreign tourists visiting the country dropped 10.3% in the first six months of 2009.

However, it was not all bad news for Spain’s spa sector, as the popularity of medi spas, which offer cosmetic treatments such as botox and facial fillers, is on the rise. In fact, Spain now has one of the highest uptakes of this type of treatment in the EU.

In terms of new products, marine-based lines have been particularly popular in Spain. One high-profile example is the sea-derived skin care brand H2O+ which offers a wide range of spa products in H20+ outlets including a Kit Spa H20 Plus with Sea Salt Body Wash, Sea Marine Body Scrub, Hydrating Body Butter, Sea Marine Revitalising Shampoo and Sea Marine Collagen Conditioner as well as an array of spa gift sets.

Home from Home

Spa product sales in the UK rose 3.1% last year to $923 million, according to TNS Worldpanel. However volume figures took a hit, falling 6.3% to 197.3 million. The increasingly competitive UK spa sector has had to hone its offering in order to ensure its survival. Day spas are gaining in popularity as people can no longer afford long spa weekends because of financial constraints. This has also meant a surge in the number of consumers buying home-spa products so they can recreate the spa experience in the comfort of their own bathrooms.

Elemis is a very popular British spa brand whose products are perfect for home use. The brand recently launched several products, including an addition to its successful Tri-Enzyme range. The Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask uses Elemis’ existing Tri-Enzyme technology alongside a tetra peptide, which is said to be anti-aging, and acerola cherry, an organic acid said to exfoliate the skin. It is also added Tri-Enzyme facials at Elemis spas.

Looking Ahead

The Big 5 spa sector seems to have weathered the economic storm quite successfully if new product innovation and new treatments are anything to go by. In fact, perhaps it is because European consumers are feeling the stressful effects of the credit crunch, which they are finding time to indulge in some much-needed “me-time.”

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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) 20 7549 8626. Fax: (44) 20 7549 8622.