The overall beauty, grooming and cosmetic industry in India has been projected by the industry organization ASSOCHAM to grow from $6.5 billion today to over $20 billion by 2025.
The twenty-first century is witnessing a tremendous escalation of spa centres in the Indian market. Earlier considered a luxury, now visiting a spa has become more of a routine exercise than an extravagance. Although as compared to nations like USA, the spa industry in India is still in its nascent stage, but is gradually picking up speed. Major growth has been witnessed in states like Kerala, Maharashtra and parts of north India. According to Rajesh Sharma, Founder, Spa Association of India, “The future of spa franchising is great, more professionalism and awareness is going to come, as more people would like to go to the spas.” He added, “With over 700 spas predicted to open doors in the next two-to-four years, there is no doubt that the spa industry in India is growing fast.”
Factors propelling growth
With an increasing number of people becoming aware of the advantages of spas, there is an increase in the number of franchised outlets as well. Moreover, people today patronise branded spa outlets rather than availing spa treatments from unorganised salons and spa centres. The franchised spa salons offer highly specialised professional services and treatments through advanced technology to its customers.
“India is a vibrant market with potentially limitless growth potential driven by its favorable demographics, ongoing rapid expansion of its economy and pro-business climate,” said Jim Lewis, CEO of Marilyn Monroe Spas.
Therefore, the various branded salons and spa centres adopt the franchise route to expand their businesses for high growth rate. A few remarkable benefits of spa franchises are as follows:
High profitability: Owing a spa salon guarantees more success to any entrepreneur. A branded beauty salon with the spa facility earns more profits than any other beauty salon. Moreover, running a spa centre fetches the franchisees more profits in terms of the cost of the treatments and massages. As spas offer a specialised treatment therefore, the fees charged for it is also high.
Large customer base: As mentioned, the spa treatment is just not limited to the affluent but also caters to the middle class clientele. With the rise in the disposable income among the middle class, there has been an increase in the number of franchised salons as well. With many multinational companies setting base in India, the country is seeing an increasing trend of business travelers mixing both business with leisure. The franchised spa industry provides a great impetus for relaxation and pleasure.
Growth of medical tourism: With the growing awareness of healing through spa therapies, many patients have started patronising these branded centres for their specialty in spa treatments. In the year 2006, around 15,000 tourists visited the state of Kerala solely for medical treatments. This is another incentive for branded spa owners to franchise their spa centres.
Encouragement of the Government: With the amount of estimated profits in the spa industry set to increase, the Indian Government is encouraging fresh entrepreneurs to take up the franchises of the spa salons.
Lifestyle of the consumers: The lifestyle of the consumers have transformed with time. People do not mind spending a few extra bucks on beauty treatments. Women today, want to pamper themselves and are constantly on the lookout for experimenting with their looks. The spa industry offers just the right destinations for them.
Challenges of spa franchising
Sunil Rao, Co-Founder, Four Fountains De-Stress Spa said,” The most challenging aspect of this business was educating people about the health benefits of taking spa therapies. In India, spa therapies are viewed as a luxury and not as an investment in one’s health.”
On the other hand, Dr G. Vijayalakshmi, Owner, Mirrors Salon opined,” Continuous replenishment of talent is a major challenge faced by the industry.”
Says Dr Blossom Kochhar, Founder, AromaMagic and The Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies,” In the beauty and wellness industry, the challenges are of trained and skilled manpower, high attrition especially among the lower levels, poor perception amongst the youth regarding career prospects, supply of training courses by sector-focused training providers, an inadequacy to meet the burgeoning industry demand and inadequate soft skill training.”
Below are some hurdles also being faced by the Indian franchised spa industry. These are listed below:
Lack of trained personnel: A major shortcoming in the spa industry can be the shortage of spa professionals. Undoubtedly, the branded spa centres offer speciality treatments but in most cases, the employees are not well-trained and experienced to compete with the services of foreign spas.
Lack of uniformity in treatments: Mostly all the spa centres across India have their own way of giving spa treatments. Even therapeutic treatments are done in different manners in different places. This makes the customers apprehensive about the Indian spa treatments.
Lack of awareness in the social strata: In spite of growth of spa industry, still a major section of the society is unaware of the benefits of spas. This hurdle can be overcome by making the spa treatments more affordable to reach out to its customers at different social strata.
In spite of these hurdles, the Indian franchised spa industry has a bright future. This article is a must read for all the aspirants, keen on taking up spa franchising.