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Spas more popular among Brits than Americans

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The UK has a greater proportion of spa-goers than the US, says a recent study commissioned by the International Spa Association (ISPA).

The report shows that 35 per cent of UK residents (20.9 million people) had visited a spa in the last 12 months, compared to only 21 per cent of Americans.

The most popular type of spa in the UK is the resort/hotel spa (23 per cent), followed by the day spa (18 per cent) then the health club spa (17 per cent).

In line with this, hotel/resort spas are the most frequently visited by Britons (36 per cent), however, in the US, day spas are the most frequently visited (35 per cent).

Spa-goers in the UK are also less likely than Americans to visit medical or cruise ship spas.

The number of people who intend to visit each type of spa in the future – with the exception of resort/hotel spas – is at least slightly higher than for those who have visited that kind of facility in the last 12 months.

The most popular spa services in the UK in order are: steam baths/saunas, massage, exercise classes, aromatherapy and facials.

First-timers tend to opt for basic, inexpensive procedures, such as manicures or pedicures, while repeat visitors choose more complex treatments.

Unsurprisingly, women prefer facials, body and beauty treatments, while men buy more hydrotherapy showers and baths. Other treatments are evenly split between the sexes.

On a five-point scale, spa visits overall earn high satisfaction rates on both sides of the Atlantic: 4.0 in the UK and 4.1 in the US.

In the UK, convenient location is the number one priority when selecting a spa, followed by friendliness of staff and price – although the study points out that these figures reflect customer concerns rather than purchase drivers.

UK consumers perceive spas primarily as a ‘place to relax’ (rated 8.6 on a 10-point scale), but other popular reasons for visiting include: ‘spas make me feel better’, ‘spas are therapeutic for my body’ and ‘spas are an excellent way to cope with stress’.

Spa-goers in the UK disagree with statements suggesting that spas cannot cater for men and deny that they don’t know what spas have to offer. However, non-spa-goers feel unfamiliar with the services on offer and are doubtful that spas will benefit them or address their needs.

The study was carried out for ISPA by NFO Plog Research and of the spa-goers questioned, 52 per cent were female and 48 per cent were male. The average age of spa goers was 36 (younger than in the US) and the average income was £30,500 (higher than the average household income).

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The UK has a greater proportion of spa-goers than the US, says a recent study commissioned by the International Spa Association (ISPA).
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