Brighter Future Ahead
As gorgeous and glamorous as the hair models are that glide down the runway at Intercoiffure America Canada, and as creative and as entertaining as the artists who create their cutting-edge looks, it’s the business sessions into the agenda that really pique my interest.
At ICA’s Fall Atelier in New York, Millennium Systems International Founder John Harms and Pete Goldstein, CFO of Adam Broderick Salon in Ridgefield, Connecticut, took the stage to share some intriguing and positive observations about the industry’s recovery from the pandemic.
Harms started by citing a study by global consulting group McKinsey & Company that originally predicted that it would take the beauty and wellness sector four years to fully recover financially from the pandemic. But now, sitting at two years out, data analyzed from salons that use Millennium’s Meevo suggest that on average, salons are bringing in 90 percent of the gross sales they were posting in 2019.
Harms and Goldstein did predict that the industry lost between 15-20 percent of salons during the pandemic, and that today’s beauty businesses have benefitted from picking up both staff members and clients who were displaced from those closed businesses, but the duo think it’s more than that.
“The average salon is up 15-17 percent more in sales year-to-date from 2022 over 2021,” he says.
While frequency of visit is a bit down, average ticket averages are up and higher retail sales are contributing to that, according to Harms. “But we also think it’s because many salons are now closing transactions at the chair instead of relying on the front desk,” he says. “Stylists are rebooking, making product recommendations and immediately adding them to the ticket, and clients are using self pay to check out right from the chair.”
While Harms admits he initially was concerned that the emerging trend of working from home would continue to encourage clients to embrace their grey roots and stretch their appointments, but he’s excited that isn’t proving true.
“Instead, the crazy thing that is happening is specialty services, like injectables and different kinds of facials, like hydrafacials, are some of the fastest-growing services,” he says. “The growth of Zoom meetings has people looking at and critiquing themselves day in and day out, and they are taking action to improve their appearance.”
The final post-pandemic trend the two discussed is the rapid growth of salon appointments that are being booked online—overall, online appointments bookings have increased 50%. Some salons have even quadrupled the number of appointments they booked online.
“With the pandemic, everyone went digital with everything from work to school to grocery shopping,” Harms says. We did an analysis and discovered that 20 percent of new client visits are being booked online, which means if you don’t offer online booking, you’re missing out on 20% of your new guest potential.”
He continues: “We all know salons can be resistant because they worry that new clients in particular won’t book an appointment correctly, but I say let them book online and capture that new guest—you can always call them back the next morning and adjust the appointment timing if you need to.”