Walk down any major city street in Cambodia, and you’ll likely find a bank, a building site and a nail salon. But make no mistake, they all represent big business, with the later specifically earning a pretty penny.
According to health and wellness site DealsOnHealth.net, the global artificial nails market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 4.5 percent between 2019 and 2024, reaching $1.2 billion by the end of the forecast period.
Indeed, in Cambodia, for customers the question isn’t whether to get their nails done, its where and when.
Admin assistant, Soth Pisey, 23, says she gets her nails done at least once a week and has a wide range of places at her fingertips, depending on her budget. “If I go to the market, I can get my nails cut and filed for around $2. But if I have a wedding or party coming up, I go to a shop where I might pay $30 or $40 to get the full treatment. This includes nail extensions, unique painted designs and added bling, such as fake diamonds. I probably spend an average of around $50 per month on my nails,” she said. “The more you pay, the better service and better products you get, but I go to whichever place suits my budget rather than not go at all,” she added.
Market research site KBV Research says that nail care is now considered one of the most essential parts of female fashion. “Growing demand from the emerging countries has contributed to the growth of the market in the Asia-Pacific region. There has been rapid growth of spas and salons and these setups offer increasingly specialised services. Extensive research and development activities to introduce new product lines are adding to the market expansion,” it said.
There is an increasingly wide range of nail services offerings, from hot and busy market stalls where women line up on infant sized chairs, to brick and mortar boutiques which offer quality products and a more tailored, luxurious experience. Covering the latter, newly opened One Oasis Wellness Spa – in Urban Village – says nail services start from $15 for a basic gel colour, but their service is about more than just nails. “We wanted to offer nail services because we understand how popular they are in Cambodia in making customer both feel and look good. However, we wanted our spa to go a step further by not just offering nail treatments, but also a relaxing, holistic experience. We find that our clients are looking for the full package when having their nails done, often combining it with other beauty and healthcare treatments, such as and lash lifts and massages,” added a staff member.
The business says that the products in One Oasis Spa are also all high-end, being either imported from South Korea or hand-picked from local producers. “Our experience is guilt free because we support local, ethical and natural brands made here in Cambodia, making us unique.”
Indeed, the saturated market has seen nail salons needing to set themselves apart from the crowd.
The Nail Bar, in St 310, Phnom Penh, calls itself the first health-conscious nail salon in the capital, providing original organic and non-toxic products.
Owner of travel site ‘When In Phnom Penh’ Sambath Lao said she used to love going to beauty salons but didn’t like the use of unpleasant chemicals, so she decided to open her own. She said: “I made my salon health-conscious because we wanted to offer the healthiest and highest quality products for nails, ones that are non-toxic and not tested on animals. Our products are all organic and we do not offer acrylic nail extensions because these could be harmful to customers,” she said. “We not only take care of our customers with good ambience and complimentary drinks, but we also care about our customers’ health and the health of their nails specifically, from preparing to finishing works with different steps and products that you might not get anywhere else. Those are our extra costs. The customers can only notice that when they come to The Nail Bar.”
She said many nail shops in Cambodia fall into the trap of selling poor quality, cheap and fake products which can affect customers health.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.