2010 Nail Industry statistics

  • Salon Service Volume Increases 3.5%
  • 34% of Nail Salons Added Services This Year And 66% of Those Added Gels
  • Salons Using Facebook Grows from 4% to 50%
  • 66% of Techs Don’t Receive an Incentive on Retail Sales

NAIL – An Industry of Contradictions

When it comes to developing the annual Big Book statistics about the nail industry, I find myself fascinated as much by the contradictions as the patterns. I wonder: If 15% of nail technicians say they increased the prices on their basic pedicures and only 1% decreased prices, why are prices for pedicures essentially flat? Shouldn’t the average service  price have shown some lift?

If 72% of nail techs say that they like purchasing their products online, why haven’t we seen a bigger increase in the number of online dealers and why do beauty supply stores remain so enduringly popular among nail techs?

And if it’s true that it’s hard to get men — who have traditionally looked at nail salons as the domain of women — why are the majority of your male clients over 45? It seems like that particular demographic would be the most difficult to persuade to come into a nail salon.

More than three-quarters of nail techs say they sell retail products for clients’ at-home use, but why is it that I rarely see retail displays in nail salons across the country?

And if NAILS says that there are about 375,000 nail techs in the U.S., why does the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics think we have only a fraction of that? (The actual number of working nail techs is somewhere in the middle of those two numbers.)

These are questions our editors are considering now in planning new material for the coming year.

We have our own patterns and contradictions here at NAILS too. We love the Big Book, with its fun- and fact-filled pages; yet, we loathe it, as it makes the month of October a month filled with late nights, missed trick-or-treating, and lunch at our desks. We know how useful the Big Book is for the industry and yet we go bleary-eyed fact-checking our Excel sheets in fear of transposing a telephone number or misplacing a decimal in a service price.

Industry Pulse
Industry Pulse

So, a few words on how we develop this data.

We conduct a major survey among our readership and others in August. However, because we do not get a representative response from Vietnamese salons, we survey that group separately. We combine the Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese information to calculate our market size, but not to figure the general statistics here. You can find our full survey on the Vietnamese market ,VIETNAMESE DEMOGRAPHICS , at http://nailcenter.us/vietnamese-demographics/  . We know enough about the variances between the groups in service prices, number of services offered, and work week to make these projections. You can’t calculate the industry’s mood, but if you could I think you’d find it increasingly optimistic. This year brought a completely new product/service category that is clearly the source of the optimism. The new gel- polish hybrids, as we’re calling them, have injected new life into the nail salon service menu, providing nail techs an easy, profitable new service that clients — and the beauty press — are gushing about. The gel category has been booming the last few years, but this newest gel incarnation has really taken off. Of the salons that added a new service this year, 77% added some type of gel service, whether it be soak-off, hybrid, or gel toes. I think we’re going to see a much bigger increase in those numbers in 2011

And, finally, it is without any contradiction at all that I express appreciation to the team at OPI Products, as always, for making this expansive statistics section possible. Suzi Weiss-Fischmann and George Schaeffer are two creative individuals who put a lot of faith in hard data and use this information themselves. Their sponsorship of this section makes it possible for us to provide this valuable tool and we appreciate it greatly.

NAIL Salon Services Market Size
NAIL Salon Services Market Size

NAILS’ market size projection figures are estimates derived from our own research. They are calculated (in a proprietary way) based on the number of salons in the U.S., the number of nail technicians per salon in each state, the average service prices of four key salon services, and an estimate of the number of practicing nail technicians.

The final figure represents, to the best of our ability, the total amount of money spent in the U.S. in nail salons for services.