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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Researching the Spa Industry

The U.S. spa industry has come a very long way since research was first conducted in 1999. I have been lucky enough to be involved in that long journey and have thoroughly enjoyed taking the pulse of the spa industry at regular intervals as ISPA’s PwC representative. It is remarkable to reflect back on the state of the spa industry at the end of the last millennium and compare it to the present. Over a decade ago, there were far fewer spas, the demographics of those attending spas were very different from now and the industry itself was a lot smaller than it is today. In comparison, the first ever report on the U.S. spa sector was a lot smaller too!

Copies of that original document are now very rare, but I am fortunate enough to still have one. Compared to the modern compendiums, it is a very brief document, at just 30 pages. But in its day, it was highly regarded because it contained a wealth of statistics and many of the benchmarks were used as the first ever measurements of the industry.

The industry research which PwC has been involved in has tracked not only the very rapid rise of the spa sector but also the dramatic impact of the great recession, which hurt every industry in the U.S. from 2008-2010. There was no way the spa sector could avoid the recession’s negative impact; however, the recent research, which I have been involved in, has highlighted the amazing resiliency of the people who make up the U.S. spa industry.

I personally have a hand in ISPA’s 2013 U.S. Spa Industry Survey which is now open. As a spa professional, you have the opportunity to participate in this research initiative and to share valuable feedback that can be used to shape the future of the U.S. spa industry. I encourage you to take part. You can access the survey by visiting 

Each year, I enjoy attending the annual ISPA Conference and I am honored to present the findings from the U.S. Spa Industry Survey to attendees. I cherish the long lasting friends I have made at these events and I must say, I have enjoyed my amazing run of success during the annual ISPA Foundation Raffle!

Colin McIlheney
Global Research Director, PwC's International Survey Unit

1 comment :

  1. Thank you so much for your excellent work - I use your reports in my courses every chance I get.
    Speaking of change, our archivist gave me a copy of a 1988 US Spa Industry Overview report by Temple, Barker & Sloane, and the changes between that and more recent reports are striking indeed! (That one filled only 15 pages, plus appendices). It's wonderful that we have your reports to chart our progress.