Feeling tense? April is the easiest time to get a massage appointment

Mar 06, 2024

New Square data sheds light on trends, preferences and massage costs across Canada

While Alberta and Quebec may differ when it comes to language and culture, residents of both provinces share one notable commonality: a deep love for massage. New data1 from technology company found that Calgary, AB, is Canada’s massage capital, followed closely by Montreal, QC. Alberta’s capital city, Edmonton, ranked third, followed by Regina, SK, and Gatineau, QC, rounding out the top five.

These cities contributed to an increase in Canadians’ overall interest in massages in recent years, on the rise since the end of pandemic restrictions, with a 38% increase in bookings through Square Appointments in 2022 and a further increase of 24% in 2023.

Meanwhile, Vancouverites have reason to be tense, as Vancouver is home to the most expensive massage treatments in Canada’s ten largest cities, with an average massage costing $182. Not surprisingly, Toronto was the second highest, but with an average cost of $135. Hamilton, ON, features at the bottom of the top 10 list, with an average cost of $77.

According to data from thousands of beauty and wellness providers using Square’s tools and services across the country, December is the most popular month of the year for massage treatments, while April is the least popular. So, while the average Canadian books their treatments 20 days in advance, those wishing to start a new self-care regimen this Spring can likely get an appointment on shorter notice next month.

Carrie Green, a registered massage therapist in Regina, wasn’t surprised by the data. “December is so busy because people want to use up their benefits for the year before they reset. But massage therapy needs to be ongoing to really have health benefits,” said Green. “Some of my clients book a whole year in advance. This way they always have appointments at regular intervals, but can cancel and reschedule if life gets in the way.”

In terms of preferences, not all massages are created equal. While there have been moderate year-over-year increases in bookings for most therapies such as Deep Tissue (26%), Hot Stone (15%), and Swedish massages (10%), Reflexology bookings have boomed, with demand increasing 41% based on data from Square Appointments. Interestingly, Lymphatic massages have seen an 18% decline in bookings from the previous year. Regardless of the specifics, the upward trend in bookings is telling.

“Self-care has become more of a priority for Canadians since the start of the pandemic, and as a result, massage therapy can present profitable opportunities for qualified professionals,” said Ashley Heywood, Head of Product Marketing, Health & Beauty at Square. “With April being the slowest month for bookings, now is the time for massage therapists to think ahead about getting clients through the door, be it by communicating with existing customers more frequently, automating their scheduling experience, or incentivizing additional bookings through perks and special discounts for regulars.”

One such tool designed to help massage professionals thank regulars for their preference is Square’s loyalty program. Toronto is the most popular city for massage therapists using Square Loyalty in Canada, followed closely by Vancouver.

1 Square analysis from thousands of sellers in Canada using Square Appointments for massage bookings between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2023.