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TRENDS


Global Spa & WellneSS Summit Special edition


GAME CHANGER


Gaming’s addictive features – challenges, rewards and social pressure – may be some of the most powerful weapons


ever invented to get people to jump-start, and stick to, healthy lifestyle changes says Susie Ellis SUSIE ELLIS » PRESIDENT » SPAFINDER INC


I


n our 2012 SpaFinder Trend Report, we named online wellness gaming one of the most interesting, innova- tive future spa and wellness industry trends to watch. With more medi-


cal experts arguing that gaming’s uniquely engaging core mechanisms – from rewards systems to social dynamics – are effective in getting people to sustain healthy regimes, the online gaming and spa connection is super logical and powerful. While the trend remains largely predictive at this point – because online gaming is hands down the most explosive consumer media form and almost every industry is ‘getting into gam- ing’ – it will inevitably evolve.


USER ALIGNMENT Let’s start with a few facts: a staggering half a billion people worldwide play online games for at least an hour a day. And they’re not all teenage boys down in the basement zapping villains in games like World of Warcraſt. While hardcore gamers are more likely to be male and younger, the mas- sively popular social, casual games category


– think games like Farmville, Bejeweled and Angry Birds – is actually dominated by an older more female demographic. A comprehensive study of US and UK gam-


ers, PopCap Social Gaming Research 2011, shows that the average player of online social games is now a 43-year-old woman – with


The average player of online social games is now a 43-year-old woman... a demographic that squares precisely with spa-goers


female social gamers outnumbering males 55 per cent to 45 per cent. Another study, Kabam Social Gamer 2011, reveals that the average first-time social gamer is a 50-plus year-old woman. Tis online social gaming demo- graphic squares precisely with spa-goers: a demographic that is roughly 70 per cent female and aged around 40-45, according to a series of online surveys by SpaFinder.com. So spa-going and online social/casual gam- ing consumers are very much aligned.


FUN AND SERIOUS Gaming is no longer just limited to battling virtual enemies or tending the virtual farm, however. Millions worldwide have already played dozens of spa-focused games, includ- ing Sallie Spa, Sara’s Super Spa or Spa Mania. And Clarins just took the spa-themed casual game to a new level with its Spa Life on Face- book, where players manage clients in search of treatments, and where they can redeem points for Clarins products (see opposite).


Insurance firm Aetna used MindBloom to create Life Game to make it fun, rewarding and social for members to achieve wellbeing goals – whether drinking more water or planting a tree


80 Read Spa Business online spabusiness.com / digital


SPA BUSINESS 2 2012 ©Cybertrek 2012


YURI ARCURS / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM


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