Budget-Conscious Europeans Bring Home a Spa Experience

By Imogen Matthews, Consultant | September 27, 2013

Spa products for use at home are a category that has benefited hugely from the economic downturn, as consumers use spas and salons less often but are reluctant to give up the whole pampering experience. Not only are spa-inspired products proving popular, consumers increasingly want to replicate professional treatments by using electrical in-home spa solutions, which has led to increasing demand for techno-beauty products, according to industry experts.

Unfortunately, according to Kantar Worldpanel, European consumers just don’t visit beauty salons or beauty spas very often. In fact, just 6% of Italian women say they regularly visit a spa, compared to 4% of French and Spanish women and just 2% of German and British women. When they do manage to venture inside a salon, the four most popular treatments are facial, massage (body/face), manicure and pedicure. For Italian women, a visit to the salon is far more likely to be for a manicure or pedicure, while French women are more inclined toward facials.

These findings are backed up by a recent Datamonitor research study that shows that 32% of consumers worldwide were using spas and salons less often in order to save money due to the economic downturn.

“Today, most consumers are still trapped in this recessionary mindset and are constantly chasing products that offer value for money,” commented Ramaa Chipalkatti, a senior analyst with Datamonitor.

Time Constraints
However, Terri Irvin, an international trainer for spa brand Bliss, maintained that spa products are now more accessible and give women better results than over-the-counter products.

“Timing constraints can stop people going to spas. Most women have demanding careers or young children but still require the same high standards of skin care they would receive from regular spa treatments,” she affirmed. Bliss products have a strong presence in the UK, Turkey, Sweden and Russia, according to Irvin.

Kantar Worldpanel’s data confirms that 41% of European women spend time pampering themselves, especially in Germany and Italy, although British women lag at behind at just 31%. In the UK, Kantar estimates the at-home spa market is growing 3.8% a year and was worth $116 million in the year ending July 31, 2013. Skin care accounts for two-thirds of sales, led by The Sanctuary, Champneys and Mandara Spa, all of which have a heritage in the professional spa sector, according to Kantar. 

Retail products bearing the words “spa” or “professional” tend to suggest a higher value while meeting consumer demand for affordable indulgence.

“Since the global financial crisis, we have seen a growth in product launches that enable consumers to carry out beauty treatments at home, that up until a few years ago could only be done by a professional. Despite having a higher price point compared to ‘normal’ cosmetics, these can be perceived to offer better value for money,” explained Chipalkatti. 

The growth in spa for home use ranges is happening mainly in retail, despite the massive opportunity salons and spas have to sell product directly to the consumer. Spa consultant, Berni Hawkins, maintained that beauty salons are better retailers than spas and that moisturizers, cleansers and toners are the products consumers are most likely to take home with them after a visit.

“There is still a big educational job that needs to be done to help consumers understand the difference between a retail product at $15 versus a much higher priced professional one,” she argued. “It comes back to the spas releasing therapists to train and use their knowledge to sell to the customer.”

Your Sanctuary
The Sanctuary Spa range, owned by PZ Cussons, has its roots in the professional sector through the iconic Sanctuary Spa in London’s Covent Garden. The products have been developed using the expertise of its therapists and feedback from guests. The latest Sanctuary Spa product launch is called Active Reverse Body, based on the treatment women can obtain in its spas which target main areas of body concern, including legs, tummy, arms, bust and bottom. The retail products include Sculpt & Smooth Anti-Cellulite Treatment, claiming visibly smoother-looking skin in four weeks and Tight & Tone Body Serum, a non-sticky formulation designed to help tone legs, bums and tums after four weeks of use.

British brand Elemis has been operating in the spa sector for 20 years and began as a luxury body care range. Sp@home, as its name suggests, is a line of products designed to replicate the spa experience and is designed as part of a regular beauty routine.
The formulations fuse natural actives with the latest technology. The range was extended in 2013 with 14 new products, including two body scrubs. Frangipani Monoi Salt Glow contains mineral rich sales and hibiscus to cleanse and exfoliate in a nourishing coconut oil base, designed to seal moisture into the skin. Skin Nourishing Body Scrub contains rice, bora bora sand, bamboo, apricot and cherry powder, which are small natural exfoliators and give a gentle polishing action.

Their Own Devices
The growing demand for at-home beauty treatments has attracted the interest of consumer electronic companies, including Panasonic and Philips. Tie-ups between personal care and electronic companies, such as Shiseido and Panasonic, where one provides the product and the other the system, are likely to be a strong trend.

“These in-home solutions have found particular favor among younger consumers who believe that looking your best is very important,” affirmed Datamonitor’s Chipalkatti.

Bliss has entered the techno-beauty area with its Fatgirlslim Lean Machine, a 4-in-1 vacuum massage system for home use that creates a deeply penetrating massage that encourages lymphatic drainage and detoxification. The Lean Machine is designed to help boost the absorption of its clinically proven skin firming cream, which contains encapsulated caffeine molecules to reduce the appearance of excess fluid retention. Elemis is also expected to launch an at-home device for its own skin care products in 2014.

The European market for spa products is in good shape and will continue to benefit from the DIY spa trend. Irvin predicts that overnight masks which are easy to use and require no effort, microdermabrasion treatments and powder cleansers will all feature strongly in the coming year.

Imogen Matthews
Headington, Oxford UK
Tel: +44 1865 764918

Imogen Matthews is a respected consultant, journalist and researcher focusing on trends in the beauty industry. She regularly contributes to many of the world’s foremost beauty trade titles. Every year in April, she publishes The Premium Market Report, focusing on trends in the UK premium beauty markets.