by Jamison Stoike

Every three months, ISPA’S Snapshot Survey reviews the previous quarter’s performance for spas and resource partners. Over the course of a year, these quarterly surveys can provide a glimpse of how the spa industry did during different times of year.

The combined data from the surveys indicates that industry growth in 2018 was likely strong: over 65 percent of respondents ach quarter stated positive revenue growth. Although revenue decreases were generally uncommon, 23 percent of spas reported seeing a year-over-year drop in the second quarter of last year. This number was the highest of any quarter. The first quarter of last year, January through march, seemed to be the strongest for spas: more respondents indicated revenue growth and fewer indicated a revenue decrease than in any other quarter of last year.

Among resource partners, respondents were less likely to report revenue shrinkage than spas, but also less frequently reported revenue growth. Although year-over-year revenue growth was still strong in each quarter of 2018, a greater percentage of resource partners than spas indicated no change in revenue. For example, Q3 2018 saw 26 percent of resource partner respondents indicate no change in revenue, compared to 14 percent of spas. however, only 9 percent of resource partners responded that they saw year-over-year revenue decrease that quarter, compared to 19 percent of spas. Yet, to put this in perspective, 65 percent of resource partners and 67 percent of spas indicated year-over-year growth that quarter.

Spa respondents most frequently indicated a year-over-year increase in visits in Q1, when 72 percent of spas said that they saw more guests than in Q1 of 2017. In Q3, only 55 percent of spa respondents experienced yearover- year growth in total number of visits.

When it comes to employment, the picture is very much what you would expect considering that the U.S. spa industry alone has over 36,000 open positions. no spa respondents indicated laying off any employees in Q1, Q2, or Q4. Layoffs were likewise scarce among resource partners; Q4 represented the greatest number of layoffs, with 5 percent of resource partners saying that they reduced their staff.

Innovation was consistent throughout the year. in every quarter, approximately half of spa respondents indicated that they added a new brand or product to their spa’s retail. Likewise, approximately half of spa respondents each quarter added a new treatment. In general, however, spas seemed slightly more likely to introduce new treatments or software in the first half of the year than in the second half.