Since the latest Covid-19 lockdown was lifted late last year, Phan Nguyen Ngoc Nhi, 35, and her husband have been visiting a spa in Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem district every Saturday afternoon .
Although he only gets a basic facial treatment, which costs around 400,000 VND ($17.47), Nhi offers a skin rejuvenation package of 20 million VND ($875).
“After the pandemic, I feel like investing more in myself,” says Nhi.
“I want to treat myself, to get treatment to make up for all the missed opportunities during social distancing.”
The couple are among more and more people making appointments for facials and other treatments at spas and clinics. After months without them since spas closed, pent-up demand is fueling a steady market recovery.
twice as busy
At 2 p.m. on a Saturday in early April, the two-story Mega Gangnam Clinic in HCMC District 1 was packed with clients receiving facial and skin rejuvenation treatments.
With 23 of the 25 beds on the upper floor occupied, harassed staff were providing consultations and treatment recommendations downstairs as new clients continued to pour in.
At reception, the phone rang constantly, leaving the operator to juggle between answering the phone with one hand and clicking the computer mouse with the other to determine the next available time slot.
“Weekends are our busiest days. We operate almost at full capacity from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.,” says Huynh Nhat Minh, Marketing Director of Mega Gangnam.
Shortly after all lockdowns ended last fall, Minh’s clinic was seeing 40 to 50 clients a week. Since the start of 2022, the number has doubled to 80 to 100, with the number of people calling with inquiries jumping 150% from the start of 2021.
Mega Gangnam is just one of many thriving beauty clinics and spas in the country.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many small businesses to close, those with the deepest pockets have managed to stay afloat and even grow.
Mega Gangnam, for example, which had a clinic in Hanoi and HCMC, opened two more branches, one in HCMC District 10 and one in Da Nang City.
Most are seeing a significant increase in bookings and consultations for both surgical and non-surgical treatments, heralding a strong recovery in the industry.
According to Nguyen Minh Tam, an employee of a clinic on Nguyen Van Troi Street in Phu Nhuan district of HCMC, as of Saturday morning, the 50 beds in his house are occupied by people coming for liposuction and laser treatments. skin.
“Since the fourth wave of the pandemic, we have lost seven employees who have returned to their hometowns and have not returned, and so we are in a hurry to hire new employees to fill their positions and respond to the increase in the request.”
According to many spa and clinic owners, the greatest demand is for facials, skin whitening and Botox injections at prices ranging from a few tens of millions of VND (10 million VND = $430) .
Clients are of all ages and walks of life, including men who are increasingly looking to improve their appearance.
“After the Lunar New Year, some men visited our clinic for liposuction to look better before going back to work,” says Tam. The procedure costs 1.9 million VND ($83).
In recent years, with one of the fastest growing middle classes in Southeast Asia, rising disposable incomes and heightened awareness of beauty, Vietnam has emerged as a promising market for services and products. beauty and personal care.
According to the Vietnamese Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the country has dozens of hospitals and plastic surgery departments within hospitals, hundreds of dermatology and plastic surgery clinics, and thousands of skin care companies.
German market and consumer data company Statista’s Consumer Market Outlook report states that the Vietnamese beauty and personal care market was worth $2.1 billion in 2020, with the three main segments being personal care, skin care and cosmetics.
This despite a slight decline in 2020 due to the pandemic, and Statista forecasts the market to grow again as consumers regain confidence in their spending and estimates revenue to reach $2.8 billion by 2024.
This positive outlook for the country’s beauty market is part of a broader post-pandemic strong rebound expected globally.
According to the US-based nonprofit organization The Global Wellness Institute (GWI), beauty and personal care is the largest segment of the $4.4 trillion global wellness industry, which has grown by 6.6% per year between 2017 and 2019, and is expected to grow by 9.9% per year. year in 2020-25.
Of all the major regions, Asia-Pacific has been the least affected by the pandemic.
According to GWI’s report “The Global Wellness Economy: Country Rankings, February 2022”, Vietnam’s wellness industry was worth $16.7 billion in 2020 to rank 33 out of 150 economies.
For consumers like Nguyen Ngoc Diep from HCMC’s District 3, since the fourth wave of the pandemic subsided, spending money to take care of their bodies and their appearance has once again become an option.
Many people have returned to work, regained some financial stability, and are ready to spend again.
In recent months, Diep, 32, a real estate agent who did not do well last year, has found new clients and now feels confident about spending on her look.
She says, “Last year I was jobless. Now I can work again and I don’t mind spending 3 million VND ($131) every month to spruce up my appearance.”
Le Thu Hoai, PR manager at luxury spa Lavender By Chang, which has branches in Hanoi and HCMC, agrees.
“People can make money and are ready to spend again.”
She points out that beauty services are still in demand among upper-class clients, especially wealthy married women.
According to some spa owners, many middle- and upper-class customers have not been hit hard by the pandemic and have simply returned to their normal spending levels.
Tam says another reason for the post-pandemic increase in demand for beauty is that many families with unvaccinated children have yet to resume travel during the holidays and therefore have more time and money to spend on beauty services.
Although the beauty industry is gradually returning to normal, the pandemic has left lasting effects. For example, since the threat of Covid remains, many beauty salons are adopting strict security measures to reassure their customers.
Lavender By Chang sanitizes its premises twice a day, while Mega Gangnam’s four spas have their beds further apart to maintain social distancing.
“All of our staff wear masks and we disinfect every nook and cranny once a day,” says Minh.
“We are strict on Covid prevention, so our customers feel safe when using our services.”
With the pandemic ending in Vietnam and the number of severe cases and deaths falling amid a high vaccination rate, Diep is among those who feel confident returning to their favorite beauty spots.
Diep, who goes to the spa with his mother every other weekend, says, “I’m fully vaccinated and things are back to normal, so I’m not worried about the pandemic anymore.”