As the world makes a push to reopen, one of the hottest questions is regarding what the “new normal” will look like. Which industries will see the fastest rebound, and which will spiral into decline? When it comes to non-life sustaining businesses, spas, massage companies, and salons come to mind as wildcards–while they’re not strictly necessary, they are clearly big business. But are Americans ready to return? 

CivicScience recently asked more than 5,200 U.S. adults about their experience with spas. Roughly a quarter of U.S. adults (24%) visit spas.

CivicScience data also observes a slightly upward trend in spas / pampering among U.S. adults as the go-to splurge over the past few years. (Currently at 10%.)

But all of this may mean nothing right now for the spa service industry. Perhaps to the surprise of no one, it doesn’t look great at this point. 

More than half of American adults who visit spas won’t be comfortable returning to one for 4+ months.

For perspective’s sake: Forty-six percent of U.S. adults are ready to return to retail stores now. Thirty-five percent are ready to return to restaurants. Only 19% of U.S. adults are ready for major public events. And a small number comfortable with returning to the cinema. 

Younger people are more likely to want to get back to the spa experience sooner rather than later, but of course regional reopening plans paused due to spikes in cases may affect their ability to do so.

Strikingly, region of residence does not impact comfort in returning to spas at all, though respondents in the Midwest and South are slightly more likely to say they want to wait four or more months.

Massage Envy

How this might impact individual spa businesses, many of which are small, will vary. CivicScience decided to specifically examine Massage Envy, the popular national chain familiar to nearly half of U.S. adults (45% are aware of the brand). Overall, 23% of aware U.S. adults have tried it, while 10% have not tried it but plan to–that interest could lead to a considerable uptick in spa users over time. 

Generationally, the demographics of Massage Envy skew younger to middle-age, with people between the ages of 25-44 most likely to have visited a location before or intend to. Adults under 25, however, are a close second.

Given the age data above that indicate younger people are more likely to say they would return to a spa soon, this could be somewhat of a silver lining. Unfortunately, the following data doesn’t paint the prettiest picture. 

Those who have already adopted Massage Envy services are only slightly more likely than the general population to return to one soon. Fifty percent say that return won’t be for many months.

CivicScience tracks these trends and countless others, providing clients with even more in-depth segmentation and insights. If you want more on this topic or any others, like how quickly your brands’ favorables want to come back to in-person experiences, let’s talk.