Market research analysts, Kline and Company suggests that beauty institutes, such as high street venues that perform grooming services, and spas are beginning to merge, resulting in a re-organisation of the European professional skin care market - with more manufacturers becoming aware of the growing popularity of day spas. "There's a general consensus among professional skin care marketers that there needs to be a convergence of spas and beauty institutes if either channel is going to be successful in meeting consumer demands in the long term", said Carrie Mellage, industry manager for the consumer products practice of Kline's research division With sales of professional skin care products rising by 9 per cent in Europe over the past year, to reach more than €1.6 billion, manufacturers are increasing seeing sales opportunities in retailing in spas, rather than the traditional beauty institutes, salons and pharmacies. Indeed, despite the beauty institutes remaining the largest sales channels for the products, the spa sector posted the fastest growth in sales, rising 14 per cent between 2005 and 2006. The sales growth has led many skin care manufacturers to acknowledge that both sales channels need to combine their offerings in order to cater to increased demand for the products. This has prompted a shift in the type of spas seen in Europe, with more 'day' spas similar to American concepts emerging to cater to the younger consumer who is increasingly looking for preventative products at an earlier age - but cannot afford the 'extended visit' concept that is traditional with European spas. However, it has more significantly opened up new opportunities for professional skin care manufacturers and given them the chance to broaden their target audience. The report suggests that introduction of the new, younger clientele brings opportunities for some brands to tap new market segments. "Brands like Guinot and Mary Cohr, which have historically positioned themselves as beauty institute brands, now have a chance to reach the spa customer." "And for spas that have developed their own brands, including Fermes de Marie Beauty and Cinq Mondes, the convergence of the two channels gives them an opportunity to expand their client base significantly." However, it is not only this more noticeable development that is driving the professional skin care market, as social and economical changes in many European companies allowing consumers to have more freedom of choice when buying skin care. Susan Babinsky, senior vice president and head of Kline's Consumer Products consulting practice said, "There are promising opportunities in the European market right now, driven not only by the crossover between the channels, but also by increases in disposable income." "The professional skin care market in countries like Russia and Poland is enjoying growth of around 16 per cent. These two factors are opening a lot of doors for marketers that can tweak their brands' positioning to appeal to a broader audience."