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RESEARCH

Manner of speaking ISPA’s latest study reveals consumer attitudes to pay attention to in the aftermath of COVID-19. Josh Corman picks out key details

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s restrictions limiting travel and gatherings slowly ease, businesses – including spas – are beginning to reopen. Likewise, consumers are returning to the routines that COVID-19 disrupted. However, to what extent and at what pace consumers will return to spas is less certain. After all, many reopened facilities will only be able to serve a limited number of guests, and stringent sanitation and physical distancing protocols will likely remain in place for a while. Will at-home treatments replace the spa-going experience for some? Will guests baulk at the idea of receiving treatments where distancing isn’t possible? How attentive will they be to spa sanitation and hygiene policies? Those are just a few of the questions that a recent International Spa Association (ISPA) Consumer Snapshot study attempted to answer. Conducted in tandem with PricewaterhouseCoopers,

the study, which surveyed more than a thousand people in the US, highlights consumer attitudes toward visiting reopened spas (75 per cent of respondents were spa-goers and 25 per cent were non-spa-goers). It also looked at their broader expectations for and concerns about returning to “normal life” after pandemic-related restrictions are lifted.

HEIGHTENED WELLBEING When the study was conducted in April, 90 per cent of respondents said they were only leaving the house to perform vital tasks such as grocery shopping. During this period of isolation, substantial portions of those surveyed said they were eating more healthily (41 per cent), getting more exercise (40 per cent) and doing more to look after their mental wellbeing (55 per cent). Given the many stresses of life during the COVID-19 crisis, it may be unsurprising that respondents reported increased attention to their own wellbeing.

When it came to approximating their spa routines at home, however, spa-goers revealed a mix of habits. While 58 per cent claimed that they were maintaining at-home skincare regimens and 50 per cent were performing nail services themselves, only 22 per cent were attempting massage (74 per cent said they were going without). Just 31 per cent were undertaking their own hair services (63 per cent said they were going without). For some consumers, purchasing habits related to personal care also shifted during the pandemic. Twenty-two per cent of respondents, for example, noted that they were spending less money on skincare products and 31 per cent were spending less on nail polish.

PENT-UP DEMAND This combination of a heightened attention to physical and mental wellbeing and some attempts to keep up with spa routines suggests that these services remained

Table 1

Once the coronavirus situation improves and businesses reopen, how nervous are you about doing any of the following?

Lingering concerns

Not nervous

A little nervous

Very nervous

Attending a work-related conference/convention

28%

42%

30%

Getting a nail service (eg manicure/pedicure)

31%

44%

25%

about COVID-19 may

Getting a haircut at a salon

37%

46%

17%

delay the return of

Participating in a group fitness class/activity

27%

44%

28%

Visiting a spa

28%

47%

25%

a significant portion of spa-goers beyond

Eating out in a restaurant

27%

51%

23%

Going to a shopping mall

27%

47%

27%

Visiting family or friends

48%

39%

13%

Taking a flight

19%

43%

38%

Source: ISPA Consumer Snapshot Volume X, May 2020

40 spabusiness.com issue 3 2020

the earliest stages of reopening

Profile for Leisure Media

Spa Business issue 3 2020  

Spa Business issue 3 2020