PULSE POINTS BY RUSSELL DONALDSON a Look Back at the original ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study THINK BACK TO 1999 — ricky martin was “Livin’ La Vida Loca” at the top of the music charts, children across the world were gripped by Pokémon and cell phones did little more than make calls. 1999 also saw the ﬁrst iSPa u.S. Spa industry Study conducted by Pricewaterhousecoopers. in the ﬁrst of a series of articles looking back at two decades’ worth of industry Studies, let’s see how it all came about and what the industry looked like back then. During the 1990s, it was widely acknowledged that the u.S. spa industry was rapidly expanding, but quantifying this was diﬃcult, with little research ever conducted on the ‘state of the industry’ and naicS industry codes An original copy of the first ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study, courtesy of PwC’s Colin McIlheney. 16 PULSE ■ n march 2019 providing insuﬃcient detail. To build a more detailed proﬁle of the industry, iSPa engaged Pwc in 1999 to conduct a large-scale quantitative study into the industry’s size and operating characteristics. over the past 20 years, the study has collected key information from spa owners, directors and managers from across the u.S. to shine a light on industry trends and compile the renowned ‘Big five’ statistics. Turning to the ‘Big five’ statistics, it’s fair to say they were substantially less ‘big’ in 1999! Total spa locations in the u.S. are now estimated to be at an all-time high of 21,770. Back in 1999, fewer than 20 percent of these spas existed, with only 4,140 locations compared to today. unsurprisingly, with such an increase in spas, revenue has soared. While GDP in the u.S. has doubled in the 20 years since the industry Study’s creation, spa industry revenues have more than quadrupled, jumping from $4.2bn in 1999 to $17.5bn in the 2018 study. yet, with more and more spas in the market, competition is ﬁerce, and average revenue per estab- lishment has fallen from $1m in 1999 to just over $800k in the most recent study.