Treatment prices may be down but frequency of visits is on the rise

The news that average treatment prices in UK salons have fallen slightly is unlikely to be met with surprise by salon owners, many of whom have long been battling the growing culture of discounting and local price wars.

However, the new Beautiful Britain report, which we review in the May issue, also claims that the average frequency of salon visits is on the rise, all of which points to an altogether different and undeniably growing trend. We’ve long been tracking the rise in popularity of express treatments and as they gradually become commonplace, their impact seems to be changing the business model of many salons and spas.

With consumers now finding it hard to squeeze a long treatment into their packed schedules, more are taking a “little and often” approach to getting results and opting instead for a series of shorter salon visits or even multiple treatments performed simultaneously.

On the whole, spas have been slower than salons to adapt, with many insisting that to benefit from their treatments, clients need to commit the time to fully relax. But as our express treatment feature in the May issue explores, UK spas are now finding ways to keep everyone happy, and so reaping the rewards of the higher footfall, which often include an increase in retail turnover and upsell opportunities.

One of the biggest drivers of the short treatments trend is the concurrent growth in male grooming. With many still testing the market, men are reluctant to commit to long treatments and instead opting for an express facial as an add-on to a wet shave or haircut.

Male grooming has been touted as the next big thing for salons for years – and the growth rate has not yet lived up to the hype – so many salons have proceeded with caution. However, as spa group Cowshed now unveils plans to tap into the market with the launch of standalone men’s sites and more than half of salons quizzed in the Beautiful Britain report saw an increase in male clients last year, it could well be a case of “here come the boys” last.