Average annual client spend up 19%

The UK hair and beauty industry is set to create 13,950 new jobs and 23,165 apprentice positions in 2016, according to the fifth annual Beautiful Britain report from Salon Services.

Of over 1,800 beauty and hair professionals nationwide, 98% said they plan to hire new staff or maintain current numbers over the year, and only 2% plan on decreasing headcount. 43% include hiring at least one apprentice in their plans – amounting to 23,165 predicted new apprentice positions across the UK.

Another key finding from the report – and more good news for the industry – is that clients are visiting beauty businesses more frequently than previous years since 2012 when the first Beautiful Britain report was released. While prices are still low overall, two thirds of salons and mobile businesses reported an increase in the amount of clients booking more frequent appointments.

The industry saw a drop in treatment prices across the board in 2012, and prices still haven’t recovered – the report said women’s hair removal treatments are at an average price of £16, which is £17 cheaper than 2012 before prices dropped. However, this is actually helping solve the problem of client loyalty for some (54% said they found client loyalty difficult to embed), as keeping prices competitively low means clients can afford to treat themselves more frequently. Tanning clients for example are now leaving five weeks between appointments, compared to seven weeks in 2015.

As a result, average annual treatment spends are actually up on 2015 at £876 for women – up 19% from £702. Women in Manchester spend the most on treatments monthly at £34.56 on average, while those in Southampton are at the opposite end of the scale, spending just £11.93 a month.

Men are also spending more than in previous years – 23% more than in 2015. They now make up a fifth of all beauty business customers according to the report, supported by the 97% of professionals who said male clientele numbers had either increased or remained steady over the past 12 months.

Guys in the North East are some of the keenest customers, booking hair removal appointments every four weeks compared to every eight last year, amounting to seven extra treatments a year. So far this year salons have seen a 55% increase in the number of male clients, while for mobile therapists it’s 33%.

Industry opportunities presented by the report focus on getting in on the male grooming boom – 40% of the businesses included in the survey still don’t cater for men – and adopting a different approach to voucher offers to attract clients back to the salon and capture their loyalty.