BY RUSSELL DONALDSON
a Look Back at the original
ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study
THINK BACK TO 1999
— ricky martin was
“Livin’ La Vida Loca” at the top of the music charts, children
across the world were gripped by Pokémon and cell phones
did little more than make calls. 1999 also saw the ﬁrst iSPa
u.S. Spa industry Study conducted by
Pricewaterhousecoopers. in the ﬁrst of a
series of articles looking back at two
decades’ worth of industry Studies, let’s
see how it all came about and what the
industry looked like back then.
During the 1990s, it was widely
acknowledged that the u.S. spa industry
was rapidly expanding, but quantifying
this was diﬃcult, with little research
ever conducted on the ‘state of the
industry’ and naicS industry codes
An original copy of the first ISPA U.S. Spa Industry
Study, courtesy of PwC’s Colin McIlheney.
providing insuﬃcient detail. To build a more detailed proﬁle
of the industry, iSPa engaged Pwc in 1999 to conduct a
large-scale quantitative study into the industry’s size and
operating characteristics. over the past 20 years, the study
has collected key information from spa owners,
directors and managers from across the u.S. to
shine a light on industry trends and compile the
renowned ‘Big five’ statistics.
Turning to the ‘Big five’ statistics, it’s fair to
say they were substantially less ‘big’ in 1999!
Total spa locations in the u.S. are now estimated
to be at an all-time high of 21,770. Back in 1999,
fewer than 20 percent of these spas existed, with
only 4,140 locations compared to today.
unsurprisingly, with such an increase in spas,
revenue has soared. While GDP in the u.S. has
doubled in the 20 years since the industry
Study’s creation, spa industry revenues have more
than quadrupled, jumping from $4.2bn in 1999 to $17.5bn in
the 2018 study. yet, with more and more spas in the market,
competition is ﬁerce, and average revenue per estab-
lishment has fallen from $1m in 1999 to just over $800k in the
most recent study.