While salon/spa professionals are optimistic about the future, the lower percentages in sales and traffic caused The Professional Beauty Association's (PBA) three main tracking indices for the salon/spa industry (Salon & Spa Performance Index (SSPI), Current Situation Index, and Expectations Index) to remain steady in the first quarter of 2012. Minimal increases and decreases indicate that the industry is holding strong and steady despite broader economic uncertainties.
The SSPI, which is the main index, is a quarterly composite index that tracks the health and outlook of the U.S. salon/spa industry. The SSPI is based on responses to PBA's "Salon & Spa Industry Tracking Survey," which is fielded quarterly among salon/spa owners nationwide on a variety of indicators. It is constructed to measure the health of the salon/spa industry in relation to a steady-state level of 100. Index values above 100 show that key industry indicators are in a period of expansion, while index values below 100 represent a period of contraction.
In the first quarter of 2012, the SSPI was at 102.8, only down slightly from 2011's fourth quarter at 102.9. A base level measurement of 100 is used, with values above considered positive. The Index consists of two components - the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index.
The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in five industry indicators (service sales, retail sales, customer traffic, employees/hours and capital expenditures) declined by only 0.7 percent to a level of 100.9. While still above the 100-level mark, the lower sales and capital spending numbers caused the slight decrease despite gains in the traffic and labor indicators. Most notably, 25 percent of salon/spa owners reported lower retail sales and customer traffic in the first quarter. Twenty-six percent also reported lower service sales, a 4 percent increase from the fourth quarter.
The Expectations Index, which measures salon/spa owners' six-month outlook on five industry indicators (service sales, retail sales, employees and hours, capital expenditures and business conditions) rose 0.5 percent to 104.7. This marks the second consecutive gain for the Expectations Index. Each of the five indicators showed growth, keeping them all above the 100-level mark. Despite low sales numbers in the Current Situation Index, salon/spa owners continue to be optimistic most notably in service sales and retail sales. Seventy-five percent of salon/spa owners expect to have higher service sales in the next six months, while 71 percent of owners expect to see higher retail sales within the same time period.
The full SPPI report and the "Salon & Spa Tracking Survey" can be found at www.probeauty.org/research.