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If I had to pick my favourite time of the year, I would probably have to say it’s around about now – that being June and July. My reasons are several: business is busy, the sun is shining (well, hopefully; as you may know, there’s never any guarantee with the British weather!) and I am usually looking forward to enjoying some summer sunshine.
The last couple of years have not delivered on the summer holiday front due to travel restrictions and business was obviously quieter with salons closed, but 2022 is firmly setting everything back on track and thankfully, accelerating at an amazing pace.
Whilst I would never want to revisit the last couple of years, I am certainly a glass-half-full type of person and as such, I always like to look for a positive in even the darkest of situations. But what possible positives could have come about from COVID you may ask? Well here in the UK, for our tanning industry, there is undoubtedly a significant positive: the number of people who are going into a tanning salon for the first time has gone through the ceiling!
We have had indicators of this for a while, but I have to say I thought it was possibly just an initial reaction to pent-up demand or even a geographical blip as there’s no doubt that indoor tanning use is more prevalent in some areas than in others. But, no. We now have feedback from salons nationwide that confirm new customer sign-ups each month of this year have been significantly higher than can ever be remembered. And that’s not all. Another interesting factor is that the age range of new tanners has widened, but there has not been any drop-off in any age groups and in more and more businesses, the percentage of male : female tanners is increasingly reaching 50:50. All this is, of course, fantastic news for UK salon owners and operators!
Confidence in stepping over the tanning salon threshold as a first-time indoor tanner is undoubtedly being fueled by increasing salon operator professionalism. Along with the obvious, such as trained and knowledgeable staff, clean and hygienic environment, well-maintained equipment and excellent advice on responsible tanning, there is a commitment and focus on communicating this information in a relevant and engaging way across social media. The result is clear to see with increased footfall into salons. And on top of all that, I am delighted to see that some of the social media messaging is successfully rebutting many of the indoor tanning myths that still exist.
We all know that there is a lot of mis-information in the public domain about indoor tanning, but we also know that consumers are fed up with the mixed messaging. Statistics and research throughout the pandemic brought to the fore the benefits of being out in the sunshine responsibly and this is undoubtedly another reason why we are seeing an increased number of indoor tanners. And it is those professionally run salons that will benefit as they play their part in the continued education of the consumer about responsible tanning – whether indoors or outdoors.
In the tanning industry since 1982, Gary is Managing Director of the UK subsidiary of Ergoline, and runs Ergoline Plus, the exclusive distributor for a wide range of sunless products and spray systems. He is also Chairman of the Media Committee for the UK’s Sunbed Association & a European Sunlight Association member.
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