Wellness and Pampering in Spas

By Jacqueline Clarke Wellness Research Director, Diagonal Reports | April 08, 2012

The "worried well" boost demand for spa wellness and pampering.

Manual massages and water therapies are the most popular wellness treatments but there are barriers to entering this market.

Diagonal Reports research reveals that strong demand for spa wellness and pampering treatments will continue because spa users perceive associated health benefits. They regard pampering as a preventative health measure. Wellness benefits are valued and, therefore, not classified as expendable luxuries to be trimmed with the first spending cuts. Spa users consider that a massage counteracts the negative health outcomes of current lifestyles, whether lowering blood pressure or relieving work-related strain injuries.

Some spa treatments are a "gentle fitness" regime or passive exercise. Consumers are required to expend little to no effort / commitment to lose weight, compared to more traditional exercise and diet regimes.

Unsurprisingly, massages generate the most spa visits and account for most spa business in value terms. Massage are primarily in demand for relaxing but there also can be a beauty element involved. Manual massages dominate in the premium or top-end of the spa market. But due to associated high labor costs, there are attempts to replicate the manual massage effect by mechanical means. Water facilities are also a big attraction for wellness and pampering clients but, again, these are limited due to the space required and costs associated with their installation and maintenance.

Pampering rituals define the spa experience. Indeed, it is the spas' reputation for pampering busy, stressed consumers that was the catalyst for the explosion of the entire spa market in the past ten or more years.

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