Massage Envy CEO: People actually want massages during a recession

Sarah A. Smith
Segment Producer/Booker

Six in ten Americans say a recession is likely within the next year, with just as many voicing concerns over rising prices due to the ongoing trade war with China, according to a recent poll.

Despite heightened concerns of a potential recession, Massage Envy claims to flourish in the adversity — even as other discretionary services suffer.

During the 2008 stock market crash, Massage Envy’s demand “actually went up,” Joe Magnacca, Massage Envy CEO, told Yahoo Finance, who said the company views massages more as a necessity than a luxury.

“In times of high stress, people actually are looking for that type of service,” Magnacca added.

Most American’s would argue that massages are a luxury, but Massage Envy believes that its services may be a health necessity for many of its members, which top 1 million in the U.S.

“We don’t actually see massage as discretionary,” Massage Envy CEO Joe Magnacca told YFi PM. “I think this view that it’s a pampering service is one that kind of exists with most people, and we’re trying to debunk that.”


Desire for comforts doesn’t leave during times of economic uncertainty, but Americans may scale back on the amount they spend for those experiences.

“People who are in that pampering stage actually step down into our model which is more affordable but can’t do without that service moving forward,” said Magnacca.

A move into other areas

Massage Envy, which defines itself as a nationwide wellness franchise, is looking past massages and into other health-related mediums.

The company has been investing heavily in skincare, looking to capitalize on the global market that’s estimated to reach $180 billion by 2024, according data compiled by Statista.

Magnacca told Yahoo Finace that the company has “licensed estheticians in our locations. So even though we are known for massage, our second act really is skincare.”

He added: “We expect to triple that business within the next two years.”

In the beginning of 2019, Massage Envy enhanced its franchise opportunities by offering customers new premium skincare services and launching exclusive partnerships with skincare brands Jan Marini and Obagi.

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“The work that we’ve done in the past three years is really to set us up going forward,” said Magnacca, boasting that Massage Envy was already top U.S. skincare server provider.

The latest trend in wellness is cannabidiol (CBD), with more people using it to stop pain, promote relaxation and ease various body issues.

Massage Envy ins’t in that space yet, but said they “hope to offer that service soon,” if it makes sense for the company’s employees.

“We put everything through the therapist lens, so if the therapist is handling CBD products six, eight hours a day, we want to make sure it’s safe for the therapist,” said Magnacca.

Sarah Smith is a Segment Producer/Booker at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @sarahasmith

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