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Salon Today 200

20 Years of the Salon Today 200: Looking Back, Growing Forward

Stacey Soble | January 5, 2017 | 8:29 AM
20 years of Salon Today 200 covers.

IN 1998, SALON TODAY launched the Salon Today 200 in an effort to…

  • Honor the business side of professional beauty and to celebrate our most innovative salon and spa owners and managers.
  • Develop a system for measuring business success in the salon and spa world and develop benchmarks that could inspire all owners and managers.
  • Create a forum where owners and managers could support one another and share valuable business-building advice.

Those were ambitious goals, but one SALON TODAY attained and has maintained for 20 years. As we introduce you to this year’s Salon Today 200 honorees, it’s the perfect time to look back to see just how far the competition and the industry have come:

Sales doubled: In the 1998 issue (which reflected data from calendar year 1996), the 200 honorees reported a collective gross annual sales of $185,000,000, making the average gross sales per salon $925,000. In 2017 (which reflects data from calendar year 2015), annual gross sales for the 200 doubled to a little more than $392,000,000. On average, this year’s honorees report gross sales of $1,970,000. What’s truly remarkable is today’s salons have doubled those sales, while employing the same number of people (7,000) as did honorees 20 years ago!

Prices Rise: In 1999, the average price charged at a ST200 salon for a shampoo, cut and style was $36. And, while many in the industry believe that salons continue to undervalue themselves when it comes to pricing, the average charged for a shampoo, cut and style has risen to $54 this year.

A Spa Explosion: Twenty years ago, integrating a day spa was a big growth strategy for many salons. In 1999, 56% considered themselves to be both a salon and day spa. In 2017, that status is almost a given, with 97% reporting their status as a salon and day spa.

Color Ka-Ching: In 1999, the Salon Today 200 broke down their gross sales as 44% from cutting services, 30% from color services, and 23% from spa-type services. In 2017, and for the past several years, hair color drives the sales. This year’s honorees report that color is responsible for 36% of their total gross revenue, with cutting services trailing at 31% and retail sales coming in third with 17%.

Technology Changes the Game: While nine out of 10 salons reported they were automated in 1999, only 45 percent had access to email. We don’t know how many salons had websites at the time, because it was so rare we didn’t think to start asking until the third year of the competition. Today, all of the 200 are automated, use salon management software in the running of their businesses, and have a website.

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