Decline in tanning salons as Brits lose interest in the WAG-look

Britain’s obsession with the bronzed image, favoured by footballers’ wives and stars of popular TV shows such as The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE), appears to be over, according to new data from Simply Business. Figures reveal that the number of UK tanning salons dropped by a third (29%) last year and by 35 per cent between 2008 and 2012, as consumers opt for more natural and healthy options.

The data, which is based on up to 750,000 quote requests received annually by the UK’s largest business insurance provider, suggest that despite the continued popularity of tans amongst the cast of TOWIE, Brits are more influenced by stars such as Victoria Beckham, who is now opting for a more natural look. The health concerns surrounding sunbeds are also likely to have influenced consumers.

While the majority (58 per cent) of the UK’s tanning salons are female run, there has been a rise in the proportion of male run tanning salons – up from 37 per cent in 2008 to 42 per cent in 2012 – suggesting that more men are embracing the metrosexual appearance.

Britain’s youth seem to be more loyal to the WAG look than their older counterparts, with those aged between 26 and 35 investing in sunbed businesses more than any other demographic (35%). Even younger tanning entrepreneurs are shown to be on the rise, with the proportion of owners aged between 18 and 25 increasing from two per cent in 2008 to 19 per cent in 2012.

Jason Stockwood, Simply Business CEO comments, “Trends in the business world frequently mirror those seen in popular culture, leading to a rapid boost in the number of start-ups in related sectors, often followed by a levelling or period of decline. The apparent fall in tanning salons would appear to be following a similar pattern, as consumers set their sights on new fashion trends. It is also possible that increased awareness of potential health risks is playing a part.

“Once again enterprising young entrepreneurs appear to be finding opportunities where others may not. They are bracing the economic downturn and creating new business ventures, proving that although the current market is tough, there is still growth to be had. It’s just a matter of finding the right business strategy.”

About Simply Business

Simply Business is the UK’s biggest business insurance provider.

Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. It has a team of UK based insurance specialists and employs almost 300 people across offices in London and Northampton.

Simply Business provides insurance to over 350,000 UK SMEs and landlords and owing to its internal underwriting capability can cover over 1,000 trade types. It has been a Sunday Times Tech Track 100 company for the past three years and was recently named in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA. Revenues have grown from £4.2 million in 2006, to £25.4 million in 2014, and the company has been named 2015 and 2016 winners of The Sunday Times’ Best Company To Work For.