Statistics Nails

Industry outlook Nails

Analyzing this year’s data, I’m intrigued particularly by a couple areas:

More than half of our respondents said that business had increased in 2006 over 2005. Yet prices are only up slightly  and nail tech income was ever-so-slightly down. Perhaps this is due to a little less competition as the true size of the industry was down (the number of salons was down 1% this year and number of licensed nail techs was down 16%).

You’re maximizing the power of the Internet more than ever. You’re online to do everything from talking to your peers miles away to purchasing products.

Luckily the bad news coming out of the mainstream press hasn’t dealt a blow to the business. While there were a few high-profile incidents surrounding pedicures as well as law changes in California and Texas, they didn’t scare customers from the salons. In fact, pedicures remain one of the most popular services in the salon, and custom pedicures one of the most often new services added.

The hype over this year’s chemical “scare” neither scared true professionals nor the salon-going public. While so-called activist consumer groups (and some manufacturers) tried to make an ingredient in nail polish sinister without testing or proof, it didn’t dampen enthusiasm for nail color. In fact, as of this writing, the nail care story that is dominating is the story about dark nail polishes being all the rage.

NAILS readers are a remarkably responsive bunch, and I thank all of you who answered our survey. You turned them  around quickly and thoroughly, allowing us access to very personal information. I appreciate your openness and trust; it allows us to benchmark important trends in the industry, and hopefully provide information that will help you run your business a little better.

Special thanks go to OPI Products, with special recognition to George Schaeffer and Suzi Weiss-Fischmann. Readers have been reading Suzi’s in-depth “Crunching the Numbers” column every other month in NAILS, as she makes practical sense of these figures and shows salons how to actually use the data in a practical business way (she devoted a column every other month to one key statistic from last year’s Big Book). I know that George uses the data around the world in his presentations about the state of the nail industry. The sponsorship of this statistics section by OPI Products makes it possible for us to provide truly unique, detailed data on the nail industry, and I thank them heartily.


Our Methods for Gathering and Presenting the Data

The statistics in this website ( are based on several surveys conducted by the NAILS Magazine staff. We do a major survey in August to our readership, which allows us to project the gathered data. We did additional surveys later in the year to keep our hand on the pulse of the salon business. All surveys were either e-mailed through an independent survey company, or mailed to the NAILS editorial research office. As an incentive to respondents we put their names into a sweepstakes to win $1,000. We received 1,967 responses, giving us a 99% confidence level that our data is plus or minus 3 points (that means that if we say something is 30%, we are 99% sure  that it is actually 27%-33%).

There are a few areas where we project  the data, rather than use the pure survey results. We note where that is the case (most significantly, the ethnic breakdown of survey respondents skews differently than the industry at large; see  page 36 for more information on this). Next year we’ll have truly universal information as we have done a major study of the Vietnamese salon industry this year.

The analysis of the statistical material was done by the editorial staff of NAILS and the research staff at Bobit Business Media. We have a variety of methods, some public, some proprietary, that we use to assure that the data
is accurate and a true picture of the nail industry at large. We compare our data to other published information, third-party sources, manufacturer and distributor data, and other known data. Where our figures are significantly different or estimates or not drawn from the survey, we note that.

This publication is the most referred to issue we publish all year and it’s quoted more often than any other issue, specifically because of the industry statistics. But more than getting quoted in the press, we want the effect of the Big Book to be directly on your business. Did you learn something that you didn’t know? Did you get an idea of a service you should add (or discontinue)? Are your earnings and prices in the range of average or too low? This information isn’t simply an “FYI”; it’s FYU (for you to USE).


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.

Statistics Nails
Statistics Nails

— Cyndy Drummey

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