This year we have seen continued growth in the South West, a reduction in businesses relying solely on commercial work and a broadening of what defines the wet leisure industry to, once again, show an increase in the importance of health and well-being.

Of course, what we all want to know is, how are those businesses doing?

On the following scale, how did you find business conditions this  year? 2014-bc-3

74% of businesses described their year as ‘OK’ or ‘Good’. Over 15% said 2014 was ‘Extremely Good’ and less than 1% reported a year that was ‘Extremely Difficult’.

Across the board, 2014 was seen to be a better year than 2013; and the results of last year’s survey showed an industry that described itself as being in better health than it had been for some time.

And this against a background of almost constant media reporting of budget cuts and austerity measures. Having said that, taken as a whole the UK’s economy is now 3.4% above its pre-crisis peak in the first quarter of 2008 and in fact, the UK’s economy grew by 2.6% last year, the fastest pace since 2007.

Without going into too much economic speculation or detail, there does appear to be more disposable income available to many households in the UK and our industry seems to be attracting its share of that spending.

“Very buoyant market, lots of people with cash to spare!”

Of course, the other great influence on the wet leisure industry is our summer weather.

Summer 2014 saw several spells of fine, settled weather in both June and July but no major heat-waves. There were some heavy summer downpours but in the main it was a warm, dry summer. In fact we were back to what might be described as an ‘average’ summer. Not as warm and dry as 2013, but really not that bad.

“Best summer in 4 years!”  

So it would appear that when not suffering at the hands of the economy or the vagaries of the weather, the UK wet leisure industry is a robust one.

We have data going back to 2010, so how do the last five years actually look? 2014-bc-4 As we pointed out last year, the summer weather in 2010, 2011 and 2012 was not only poor, it got progressively worse over those years.

But as we can see, another decent summer and a slowly improving economy have benefited the whole industry. Do we expect that to continue?

On the following scale, how do you expect business conditions to be next  year? 2014-bc-5

With over 90% of respondents looking forward to a year that will be ‘OK’, ‘Good’ or ‘Extremely Good’, it is safe to say that we do.

“2014 was a much better than expected year and there are very good indicators for 2015. Consumer confidence is growing fast and the growth of the economy, no matter how slow, is going to increase this confidence further.”

Of course, the purpose of this survey is to help us all make better informed business decisions.

In order to do that, we need to take a closer look at some of the groups, trends and behaviors that the survey identifies.