Each year, the International SPA Association (ISPA) monitors five key statistics related to the spa industry: revenue, number of spa visits, locations, total employees and square footage.

Current statistics show the spa industry, like virtually every other industry, has not emerged from the recession unscathed. Still, spa remains a $12.3 billion industry, with a decrease in revenue of just about 4 percent from 2008 to 2009.

“After many years of very rapid growth, all five of the key measurement statistics for the spa industry show a decline after 2008,” said Colin McIlheney, global research director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the research organization that worked with ISPA to determine the current statistics. “However, many in the industry who took part in the ISPA survey report that they have been proactive in taking measures to combat the impact of the recession.”

The change most related to massage therapists is the trend in spa from full-time to part-time employment. Yet according to another spa survey MASSAGE Magazine reported on in September, massage therapists remain the most in-demand spa employees.

“Reshaping the workforce was cited as one of the most highly utilized methods for battling the recession,” stated an ISPA press release that accompanied the study statistics. “Other methods for managing the recession include re-engineering spa menus to include shorter and less expensive treatment options, offering incentives and forming partnerships with local businesses.”

Among the results of the study:

• Revenue in 2008: $12.8 billion. Revenue in 2009: $12.3 billion (-4.3 percent)

• Spa visits in 2008: 160 million. Spa visits in 2009: 143 million (-10.2 percent)

• Number of locations in 2008: 21,300. Number of locations in 2009: 20,600 (-3.2 percent)

• Number of full-time employees in 2008: 158,200. Number of full-time employees in 2009: 138,100 (-12.7 percent)

• Number of part-time employees in 2008: 112,300. Number of part-time employees in 2009: 137,200 (+22.2 percent)

• Number of contract employees in 2008: 70,100. Number of contract employees in 2009: 56,800 (-19 percent)

• Total number of employees in 2008: 340,600. Total number of employees in 2009: 332,000 (-2.5 percent)

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