The wildly successful salon and spa industry, by the numbers

It’s not just your imagination (or your Instagram feed); it’s a good time to be in the salon and spa industry. In fact, according to some reports, salons, spas, skincare services and other beauty and wellness services have outperformed much of the rest of the economy since the recession.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists (which they track together as a profession) are expected to grow by 10 percent between 2014 and 2024, faster than average for all occupations. As Skin Inc. has reported, demand for skincare services and specialists is increasing steadily, driven in part by new services and a universal interest in anti-aging.

The career outlook for massage therapists is even better—BLS is expecting a 22 percent increase in the number of massage therapists between 2014 and 2024. Massage therapy is becoming a more and more common service at salons and spas everywhere.

There will be plenty of work to go around for all of these professionals. One 2014 report states that the salon and spa industry has annual sales of $46 billion. The industry performed much better than most of the private sector during and immediately after the recession, and has grown steadily in the healthier economy.

There are innumerable ways to slice and dice the data, and myriad perspectives to take on the industry. But from our perspective, here’s what is interesting: According to the 2014 report referenced above, 1,045,288 of the 1.1 million salon and spa establishments are “non-employer salon establishments.” That phrase encompasses many types of businesses and solo practitioners: a salon business that rents booths to contractors; hair stylists who work out of their homes; sole practitioner estheticians, and independent makeup artists serving the entertainment industry.

This arrangement can expose salon and spa owners to liability. Independent contractors should be added to salon owners’ insurance policies. Plus, salons should regularly check that they have the right insurance coverage in place for new services.

As beauty and wellness services continue to grow and change, we’re in for some exciting developments in the salon and spa industry. Part of adapting to those changes will be ensuring salons and spas have the right insurance coverage in place.


Kathy Lopez, Account Manager for SASSI, the Salon and Spa Specialty Insurance program at Brownyard Group. She can be reached at

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